JM Calma shone with a career-best performance as San Sebastian held off a persistent Lyceum side, 83-71, to score its crucial second win in five outings in the NCAA Season 97 at the La Salle Green Hills Gym on Sunday, April 10.
The Stags banked on a huge second quarter rally where they outscored the Pirates 23-9 to build an 18-point lead which proved to be enough to survive the Pirates’ comeback attempt late in the payoff period.
Calma simply had his way in the match and scored in variety of ways from the post and in the perimeter — even hitting tough fadeaways en route to a career-best scoring of 23 points which also went with 11 rebounds.
San Sebastian also bounced back huge from its painful defeat at the hands of San Beda Red, 61-60, as Rommel Calahat and Kenneth Villapando who chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively, engineered the 8-2 finishing kick to douse Lyceum’s late rally.
More important, the Stags also forced a four-team logjam in the fifth place of the standings with Perpetual Help, Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano with identical 2-3 win-loss slates.
San Sebastian head coach Egay Macaraya was glad to see his players step up in the crucial match despite missing the services of some of his key players in Ichie Altamirano, who served his suspension, and the injured Michael Are.
“Everybody performed well ang nagustuhan ko lang sa team ngayon makikita mo na rin yung character dahil without Are and Ichie and hirap maglaro tapos trapping pa yung kalaban namin but the boys did well,” said Macaraya, pertaining to the swarming pressure defense that allowed the Pirates to cut the deficit to single digit late in the final frame.
Enoch Valdez was at the forefront of that pesky full court defense that forced San Sebastian to costly errors and allowed Lyceum to come within six multiple times in the final frame, the last one at 75-69 with 1:52 left in the game.
Kenneth Villapando then retaliated with a quick five-point spurt before Rommel Calahat nailed the dagger trey to cap an 8-2 finishing kick for the Stags.
Omar Larupay paced the now 1-4 Pirates with 14 points while Valdez finished with 12 markers.
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