The well-rested San Sebastian Stags team banked on the huge effort of Allyn Bulanadi to dispose of the Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers, 82-75, yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
Pouring in 27 points, Bulanadi was there when the Stags broke away in the first period. The Heavy Bombers rallied in the third and closed the gap in the closing minutes. But Bulanadi’s presence keyed the Stags’ fourth win in 13 games in the 94th National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men’s basketball tournament.
“What’s good about this win is that the boys were able to rest before the game. The break was long,” said Stags coach Egay Macaraya, citing the week-long break the team got after their game with the Arellano Chiefs was called off last Friday because of inclement weather.
Bulanadi shot 10 points in the first period, with his first basket finding its mark during a 9-2 run at the start of the first period. He handed the Stags their biggest lead, 23-9, with 1:16 to go in the quarter.
As the Heavy Bombers rallied, 37-41, Bulanadi scored twice in succession, sparking a 6-0 blast and the Stags went on to move away, 52-43, with 5:39 left.
Regille Ilagan and Alvin Capobres had 16 and 14 points. They teamed up with Bulanadi in the final 1:01 which allowed the Stags to stay out of range, 79-70.
The Heavy Bombers, with their 2-11 card, are out contention for the Final Four.
In junior action, former National University standout Winderlich Coyoca banged in 18 points to lead the San Beda Red Cubs to a 81-71 victory over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Brigadiers.
The Red Cubs got three defensive stops from Cyrus Llarena, and his assist to Coyoca in the last 1:57 allowed the Taytay-based cagers to take a 76-67 cushion, and pull off their ninth triumph in 13 outings.
“It’s a good thing we were able to have stops and force turnovers in the last three minutes. This game was more on team defense,” said Red Cubs coach JB Sison.
Milo Janao tallied 19 points, including two timely triples that shattered a pair of deadlocks and provided San Sebastian Staglets the needed lift to pull off a 56-51 triumph over the JRU Light Bombers.
After Janao’s last triple broke a 51-all tie, JP Timbacaya hit two charities in the last 16 seconds, putting the Staglets in their fifth win in the 13 matches.
“We were outrebounded. But, the big men stood their ground and kept the ball in rotation,” said Staglets coach Melo Banua.
Meanwhile, Junjie Ablan, who handles the school’s junior program as consultant, has taken over as the interim coach of the Arellano Chiefs.
Ablan was asked to take over from Jerry Codinera stepped down from his post yesterday. He will have his debut when the Chiefs clash with the College of St. Benilde Blazers at 2 p.m. today.
Codinera did not disclose the reason behind this decision following a closed door talks with University vice president Frederick Dedace.
But the Chiefs’ floundering campaign could be one of them.
“We’re getting another coach. But’s it’s difficult to change coaches midway in the season,” said Peter Cayco, Arellano University’s board reprentative to the management committee.
Codinera handled the Chiefs from 2013 to 2018, taking over from Coy Banal, who was around from 2010 to 2011.
Ablan coached the Arellano Braves when the school joined the NCAA in 2010, before he became its consultant of the high school cage program in 2016.
Codinera once helped the Chiefs to the finals in Season 92 with Jio Jalalon, Kent Salado and Lervin Flores anchoring the team. They lost to the Red Lions.