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Lions survive gritty Stags

San Beda University survived a late-game scare from San Sebastian College in overtime, 82-79, in Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

Damie Cuntapay fired 16 points and four rebounds for the Red Lions, who crumbled under pressure in regulations that allowed the gritty Stags, bannered by Ichie Altamirano and Rafael Are, to send the game to overtime.

The Red Lions kicked off the extra period with back-to-back baskets from Peter Alfaro and JB Bahio to erect a five-point cushion, 81-76, with only 2:33 left.

Then, Jessie Sumoda drained a huge three-pointer to help the Stags cut the lead to two, 79-81, but James Kwekuteye split his free throws in the final 12.3 seconds to give the Lions a breathing space, 82-79.

Altamirano tried to force a second overtime, but his three-pointer fizzled out, allowing the Lions to complete a thrilling escape.

San Beda coach Yuri Escueta lauded his boys, especially with the way they carried themselves against the tough and rugged Golden Stags.

“I told the players that they have to learn how to adjust. They can’t crumble just because we committed 25 turnovers or there is immense pressure,” Escueta said.

“We have to handle what we can control.”

Kwekuteye contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Bahio had a double-double output of 11 points and 16 rebounds for San Beda, which now holds a 9-4 win-loss record
Rhinwil Yambing scored 17 markers for the Stags, who dropped to a 5-7 slate.

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