San Sebastian College-Recoletos (SSC-R) banked on an explosive third quarter performance to rout University of the Philippines (UP), 64-51, and book a ticket to the playoffs of the 11th FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The Stags erupted for 22 points while limiting the Fighting Maroons to just nine markers in the third period en route to a six-game winning streak against one defeat.
“We’re playing as a team. Everybody is stepping up,” said SSC-R head coach Egay Macaraya. “I’m just very happy that my team is learning to win every game.”
Regille Ilagan topscored for the Stags with 14 points, Jason David chalked 13 markers and Ryan Costelo poured all his nine in the pivotal third frame.
Ibrahim Quattara finished with 14 points while Diego Dario added nine for the Fighting Maroons, who played without their mentor Bo Perasol as they dropped to 4-2.
The Maroons led by as much as eight points, 31-23, on Dario’s triple in the second quarter but the Stags uncorked an 11-3 run capped by Michael Calisaan’s three-point play to tie it up at 34-all heading into the halftime.
San Sebastian suddenly stepped on the gas unleashing a 14-0 blitz built on Costelo’s nine-point showing in the third frame as the Stags bagged a 56-43 lead going into the payoff period.
UP scored six straight points to open the final frame and cut the deficit to seven, 49-58, but David drained back-to-back treys with three minutes left to seal the win for SSC-R.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University (FEU) also assured itself a quarterfinals berth with a 68-61 decision over Emilio Aguinaldo College.
The Tamaraws bucked a slow start then went on to outscore the Generals in the middle quarters to improve their card to 6-1, which lifted them to joint first with San Sebastian in Group B.
“We seemed to play passive today compared to our last game. Nevertheless, we got the win,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela.
Brandley Bienes led the Morayta-based cagers with 10 points while Rj Ramirez and Arvin Tolentino chipped in nine markers apiece.
Sydney Onwubere tallied 11 points for the Generals, who bowed out of contention for the playoff with a 2-5 slate.
In other seniors matches, Arellano University (3-4) overwhelmed winless Mapua University (0-7), 68-58, even as University of the East (3-5) closed its preseason campaign on a high note with an 81-77 win against Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1-5).
In the juniors division, Ateneo de Manila University soared past La Salle Green Hills, 70-62.
The Blue Eaglets thwarted a late rally by the Greenies to secure their flight to the Final Four with a clean 4-0 sheet.