San Sebastian remained unbeaten in the 87th NCAA men’s basketball tournament, but its coach, Topex Robinson, is far from satisfied.
The Stags bucked a lethargic showing to defeat cellar-dweller Arellano, 92-79, on Monday at the Fil Oil-Flying V Arena.
Ronald Pascual finished with 27 points, five rebounds, and five assists, which Calvin Abueva notched his first career triple-double as the Stags rejoined idle San Beda at first place in the standings with a 7-0 record.
Abueva had 18 points, 13 rebounds and a personal-best 10 assists.
But Robinson rued his team’s inconsistent showing as the Chiefs, who fell to 1-6, made the game competitive.
“What bothers me is our defense,” said Robinson. “It’s something that we have to work on heading into our final two games of the first round.”
Robinson and company need to fix their woes as they play surging Mapua on Wednesday, before their highly-anticipated showdown with the Red Lions on August 19.
With the Stags struggling, Arellano got strong contributions from Jerald Lapuz and seldom-used Mark Doligon, who top-scored with 17 points.
“We disrespected the guys like Lapuz and Doligon. I guess it’s a matter of lack of effort,” added Robinson.
San Sebastian is coming off a 77-70 win over Emilio Aguinaldo College on Wednesday but the Stags, who held a 21-point second quarter lead, nearly lost in the homestretch before Pascual took charge.
The Stags turned the ball over 19 times against the Chiefs, with Abueva committing eight turnovers on his own.
Big man Ian Sangalang also had a big game for the Stags with 16 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. Anthony del Rio tallied nine points and nine assists and Michael Miranda, who started at power forward, chipped in nine points.
Despite the sloppy play, San Sebastian managed to shoot 39-of-71 from the field for a 55-percent clip.
Lapuz had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Adrian Celada scored 13 points and Prince Caperal and Vergel Zulueta added ten points each for the Chiefs.
However, Arellano dropped to 1-6, the team’s worst start since joining the league in 2009.
SAN SEBASTIAN 92 – Pascual 27, Abueva 18, Sangalang 16, del Rio 9, Miranda 9, dela Cruz 6, Maiquez 4, Ferrer 3, Antipuesto 0.
ARELLANO 79 – Doligon 17, Lapuz 16, Celada 13, Caperal 10, Zulueta 10, Acidre 6, Palma 4, Pagayunan 2, Casino 1.
Quarters: 22-12; 40-32; 59-54; 92-79