After a crushing 76-65 loss to the San Beda Red Lions last September 15, the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags needed to re-assess where they were going, especially with the NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball tournament entering the crucial stages.
But having known sharpshooter Egay Macaraya as head coach, they did not need to look any further for where to start.
In their bounce-back victory at the expense of the CSB Blazers last September 21, Renzo Navarro and the Golden Stags knocked down 13 triples to force a logjam for fourth place.
Needing to up the ante against Letran — a team with whom they were tied with in fourth place — Jayson David, Allyn Bulanadi, and the Golden Stags heated up from deep, knocking down a season-high 16 triples to romp the Knights, 95-64, Tuesday afternoon.
And for Macaraya, it’s about returning to what brought them to the dance.
“Well, ‘yung team naman, ganito talaga ‘yung buhay namin, we die, we win with the three-points.
“Good thing right now, pumapasok naman, hindi naman lahat, but at 43 percent sa three-points, masyadong mataas sa amin ‘yan,” beamed the second-year mentor as his team went 16-for-37 from range.
“I guess they’re improving a lot. Bigyan naman natin ng credit ang mga bata, dahil hindi naman talaga sa akin ‘yan,” Macaraya pointed out, deflecting credit from his system.
But the duo of Stags that lit it up in this game, David and Bulanadi, were quick to point out that it was defense that sparked their blistering offense.
“Nag-focus lang ako sa defense,” said David, who knocked down three triples in the contest.
“Sabi kasi nila coach, pag na-stop ko si Rey Nambatac, pag na-stop namin siya, mama-minus na namin ‘yung score niya eh.”
“Ah yung individual defense namin, una si Rey, doon nanggagaling sa kanya ang score ng Letran. Tapos nagi-step up lahat ng mga teammates namin, nagi-enjoy lang kami bawat game,” added Bulanadi, who converted three triples as well while helping limit Nambatac to his season-low of six points.
This time though, it’s safe to say that their offense ignited the Stags’ defense. Not the other way around.