PHOTO FINISH. Michael Calisaan sinks a crucial free throw that solidified the win for the Stags. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – The San Sebastian Stags stared at a potential buzzer-beating loss to the CSB Blazers before escaping, 66-65, at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Tuesday, September 11.
Flashy forward Justin Gutang nailed a corner three at the 6:12 minute mark of the 4th, completing a 13-3 run and slashing an 11-point deficit to just 1, 55-56. Yankie Haruna corralled a Gutang airball a few possessions later and tied the game at 58-all, off an and-one layup.
However, after a Michael Calisaan mid-range at the 4:09 mark, Lady Luck smiled on comeback kid RK Ilagan as he banked in a wild, flinging triple for the 63-58 lead with 1:35 remaining in regulation.
But Gutang wasn't ready to give up on their shot for solo 3rd in the standings as he scored 5 straight points to knot the contest at 65 with 22 ticks left.
Then off the split Calisaan freebie, Gutang raced down the court for the buzzer-beating layup, which was called off after a lengthy review.
Calisaan led the Stags with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the win. Ilagan finished with 11 markers, 4 boards and 2 dimes in their third official win after forfeiting two wins in the first round.
Gutang, meanwhile, managed 25 points, 8 boards, 5 dimes and 2 steals for CSB which were all for naught in the end. Big man Clement Leutcheu was a far second on the scoreboard with 9 markers, although with 11 rebounds to show for it.
After a tooth-and-nail 1st half, the win-starved Stags clamped down on defense in the 3rd and held the Blazers to just 8 points, compared to the 17 they scored for a 53-42 lead at the end.
SAN SEBASTIAN 66 – Calisaan 18, Ilagan 11, Bulanadi 10, Capobres 10, Calma 6, Dela Cruz 5, Are 2, Valdez 2, Villapando 2, Desoyo 0, Isidro 0, Sumoda 0.
ST. BENILDE 65 – Gutang 25, Leutcheu 9, Dixon 8, Carlos 7, Haruna 7, Young 5, Belgica 3, Nayve 1, Naboa 0, Pasturan 0.
Quarters: 17-12, 36-34, 53-42, 66-65.