Four Generals scored in double figures to lead the cellar-dwelling Emilio Aguinaldo College to an upset win of 77-67 over the pace-setting San Sebastian Stags in Season 88 action of the NCAA at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The undermanned Generals played without their head coach Gerry Esplana and guards Jorem Morada and Francis Munsayac due to a one-game suspension each for the EAC-CSB fracas a couple of weeks back.
EAC led by as many as 15 points, 24-9 in the early goings of the first canto led by the ten-point explosion of Igee King.
The Generals momentarily lost momentum in the second when the Stags played catch-up basketball led by Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang. The Stags were suddenly within five at the half.
In the second half, Sangalang had a huge lift from Jovit Dela Cruz in scoring as they alternately fired key baskets that brought back San Sebastian in the game. At the end of the third, the Stags were within striking distance at 57-58 from the Generals.
The Generals, who didn’t expect the Stags to play a notch lower today had Assistant Coach Andy De Guzman at the helm in lieu of Esplana. He said, “Yung preparation namin, sumakto lang sa San Sebastian. Nung una kasi hindi namin alam kung sino ang makakatapat namin. Basta ang gameplan is sirain ang rhythm ni Ronald Pascual and Calvin Abueva dahil yung 2 na yun ang magpapanalo at magpapatalo din sa San Sebastian.”
With the Stags playing catch-up basketball majority of the way, the EAC Generals loaded up in the final period as Noube Happi and Russel Yaya opened up the quarter with an 8-0 run that gave the Generals another comfortable 66-57 lead.
With 6:56 left, reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player Calvin Abueva was slapped with a technical foul for pointing an accusing finger at a referee, leading to his disqualification for five fouls. The Pampanga native is set to be part of the PBA draft on Sunday. Abueva finished with his season-low nine points and eight rebounds, a far cry from his averages of 20.4 points and 17.4 rebounds per game.
Ronald Pascual also struggled offensively, shooting 1-of-6 from beyond the arc and 4-of-21 from the field.
“Naging basehan namin yung one-point loss namin sa San Sebastian in the first round,” said De Guzman. “It proved na kaya namin makipagsabayan sa mga malalakas na teams like SSCR. We dedicated this game to Coach Gerry.
“Maganda din yung naipakita ni Igee King. Dahil na din siguro sa long talk nya with his mom and dad kaya nagdeliver ng husto yung bata. It was hard to replace Morada and Munsayac sa game plan due to their suspension pero buti naglaro as a team yung mga naiwan.”
Noube Happi had 17 points and 10 rebounds across his name while Russel Yaya paced the Generals with 18.
The Generals improved their win-loss record to 3-7 while the Stags absorbed their third defeat for a 7-3 win-loss slate.
EAC (77) — Yaya 18, Happi 17, King 17, Tayongtong 11, Monteclaro 5, Jamon 3, Chiong 3, Paguia 3, Sanchez 0, Acebron 0, Mallari 0.
San Sebastian (67) — Sangalang 24, Dela Cruz 14, Pascual 10, Abueva 9, Maiquez 4, Antipuesto 2, MIranda 2, Juico 2, Binuya 0, Rebollos 0, Balucanag 0.
Quarters: 26-11, 43-38, 58-57, 77-67.