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STREAK BUSTERS — Generals send Pirates crashing back to earth

Ralph Robin celebrates a connection from downtown to help EAC get past league-leading Lyceum in their Season 99 NCAA basketball game. (PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF NCAA )

Emilio Aguinaldo College snapped Lyceum of the Philippines University’s six-game winning streak following an 83-76 victory in overtime in Season 99 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.

King Gurtiza dropped 18 points and eight rebounds as the Generals picked up their third win in five matches.

In the second game, Clint Escamis unleashed a defensive masterpiece as he powered Mapua University to a 77-71 win over Letran College.

Escamis swiped a career and season-high eight steals and capped it by doing almost everything — 20 points that included two triples, seven rebounds and five assists.

Escamis’ brilliance delivered the Cardinals their fifth win in six outings while sending the Knights — the reigning three-peat champions — sprawling to their sixth straight defeat and into the worst start by a defending titlist in recent memory.

Escamis though wasn’t alone as Marc Cuenco had 20 points and 10 boards while skipper Warren Bonifacio chipped in 11 markers and eight caroms.

Gurtiza tied the game at 74 with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter as EAC was able to force overtime after Vince Cunanan missed a potential game-winning triple in the dying seconds of regulation.

The Generals would start the overtime period with a 6-0 run capped by a triple by Nat Cosejo with 3:04 remaining and never looked back.

Despite the win, EAC head coach Jerson Cabiltes said the team needs to remain focused on the goal of bringing the school to its first Final Four appearance since joining the country’s oldest collegiate league in 2009 as a guest team.

“I’m not here to break any records or any winning streak or anything. There’s only one streak I’m looking at: Making it to the Final Four. I’m hoping that they will work hard in order to get there,” Cabiltes said.

“Every game, our character is tested. We didn’t finish well in our last two games, especially against Mapua. I kept telling my players that we have to be strong in these crucial moments.”

Cosejo scored 14 points for EAC while Ralph Robin added 13 points as the Generals are now tied for fourth place with San Beda University with identical 3-2 win-loss records.

JM Bravo led the Pirates with 18 points as they remain on top of the standings despite having a 6-1 slate.

 

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