Calahat shows way as San Sebastian cruises past Mapua

Romel Calahat exploded with a double-double performance of 17 points and 17 rebounds to help San Sebastian sneak past Mapua with a 57-56 win in the NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Romel Calahat of San Sebastian (NCAA/GMA)

Both teams figure in a nip-and-tuck affair and saw some nail-biting moments in the payoff period but the Stags emerged victorious after clamping down on their defense against the mighty Cardinals, who saw a glimmer of hope after a crucial three-pointer from Juaqui Garcia down the stretch.

While Calahat was the lone player to reach double-digits, Raymart Escobido, who had four points only, showed his pesky side and was able to salvage a couple of pivotal rebounds late in the final frame as San Sebastian improved to a 2-1 record.

“First of all, sa Mapua, alam naman na natin credits sa Mapua. They’ve been playing good defense also as we do. Tapos breaks of the game. Kami lang ang nanalo,” said Stags head coach Egay Macaraya. “But credit to the boys, hindi nag-give up and we did try our best to win this game.”

Jessie Sumoda and Kenneth Villapando scored seven points apiece as the latter grabbed eight rebounds for San Sebastian.

The Cardinals came alive late in the fourth quarter and closed in the gap by one point only following Garcia’s three-pointer — their lone field goal from beyond the arc in that period — with 58.7 seconds remaining.

Calahat, despite his superb outing, turned the ball over in the most crucial moment in the next play which enabled Mapua to try and take the lead.

Toby Agustin, who finished with nine points and five rebounds, however, fired blanks from the free-throw line in the following possession in what could be the go-ahead point for the Cardinals. He finished with a dismal 2-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line and couldn’t deliver on the clutch.

Adrian Nocum secured the offensive rebound and handed the ball out to Garcia but Escobido paved the way with his heroics and the decisive steal.

The Stags turned the ball over upon inbound which opened an opportunity for Garcia but he missed his three-point attempt from the right wing as Escobido once again secured the rebound and zoomed away for the win.

Nocum spearheaded the Cardinals, who fell to a 1-2 slate, with 15 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Arvin Gamboa chipped in 12 points.

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