Allyn Bulanadi's career game steered the San Sebastian College-Recoletos into the NCAA Season 95 postseason as the Stags captured the fourth seed after a thrilling 99-94 win over the Perpetual Help Altas Friday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Bulanadi fired a personal-best 44 points, including seven triples, and collected eight rebounds and four assists. The graduating forward took matters into his own hands in the fourth quarter, pouring in 15 points in a stunning display of scoring.
The Stags avoided a potential playoff battle with the Mapua Cardinals for the last seed and will enter the postseason stepladder with their 11-7 record, taking on the third-seed Letran Knights.
"Just as coach (Egay Macaraya) said, we need to enter the Final Four," Bulanadi said in Filipino. "If we lost, we're the ones who'll get tired because we would still have a playoff. I just did my best, I said this is for Baste."
With the game tied at 88 apiece with two minutes left, Bulanadi connected on two foul shots and followed it up with a booming triple to give his team a five-point cushion. After Tonton Peralta scored on a reverse, Bulanadi proved that he still had more in the tank. He notched his career-high in style, attacking the teeth of the Altas defense and sinking a tough layup underneath. He even shrugged off a mild sprain after stumbling on the play as he put his team up by five with a little over a minute remaining. The Altas were able to close the gap to three but Edgar Charcos missed a game-tying triple and Rommel Calahat sealed the win on the foul line.
RK Ilagan was the partner-in-crime for Bulanadi as he picked up 22 points, highlighted by five 3-pointers. Alvin Capobres chipped in with 10 points.
The Altas garnered a 5-13 record in a season of disappointment especially after their Final Four entry last year. Charcos did his best in his team's final game with 22 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
The Stags now shift their focus on the Knights as the stepladder playoffs will begin on November 5.
"The last time we went to the Final Four, it was also a stepladder versus Letran. We were lucky at that time because Michael Calisaan shot a three and we were able to advance," said head coach Egay Macaraya. "We will just try to do everything so that we will have a good game against them."
The CSB Blazers finish their Season 95 campaign with a 68-62 victory over the Mapua Cardinals, spearheaded by their four graduating players.
Yankie Haruna put up 13 points and six rebounds and big man Clement Leutcheu had eight and 15. Fellow senior Carlo Young added six points while Edward Dixon tallied four points, 12 boards, and two steals.
"As disappointed as we are, I still feel good that we finished the season how we started it. At least we got two wins to finish the season," said Blazers head coach TY Tang as his team finishes with a 9-9 record for fifth place. "We're just gonna see how we can go from here to work on our inconsistencies."
Noah Lugo racked up 13 points for Mapua followed by 11 points from Justin Serrano. The Cardinals came into the game not only eager to get the win but also hoping for a loss from the Stags earlier to force a playoff match for the fourth seed. But things didn't go their way as they end the season with a 9-9 record.
Tang mentioned that the playoff scenarios might have played a factor against the Cardinals, but emphasized that their focus was on themselves.
"On our end, these guys just wanted to end their season, end their college career, on a winning note. I gave these guys heavy minutes," Tang said about his four seniors. "These guys have, day in and day out, practices and games, they've been giving their utmost effort. Our time together might be a little shorter, I have a feeling wherever they go they learned a lot with the three years with us."
In the last game, the JRU Heavy Bombers edged the Arellano Chiefs, 77-73, to earn their fifth win of the season.
Ry Dela Rosa fired a career-high 21 points and hit a pair of clutch free throws to seal the win for Jose Rizal. The duo of Agem Miranda and Thomas Vasquez had 13 points apiece for the Heavy Bombers who finish 5-13 in the standings, while also snapping their six-game losing streak
Free throws from Miranda gave the Heavy Bombers a precarious two-point edge, 75-73, with 7.9 ticks left. Arellano standout Kent Salado attempted a long triple from way downtown but was blocked by JL Delos Santos. Dela Rosa then iced the game at the line.
"I'm looking forward to a great future with the team," said JRU coach Louie Gonzalez. "These kids, they really committed, they bought into the system. I can't say enough about them."
"Moving forward for next year, it's a great opportunity," he added.
Salado posted 22 points, five rebounds, and seven assists in his final game for Arellano. The Chiefs finish the season in last place with a 4-14 record.
SAN SEBASTIAN 99 - Bulanadi 44, Ilagan 22, Capobres 10, Calma 6, Villapando 6, Calahat 6, Tero 3, Sumoda 2, Isidro 0, Cosari 0, Desoyo 0, Altamirano 0
PERPETUAL 94 - Charcos 22, Aurin 20, Razon 18, Peralto 10, Adamos 8, Martel 6, Giussani 6, Sevilla 2, Tamayo 2, Lanoy 0, Cuevas 0
QUARTERS: 27-18, 48-44, 76-65, 99-94
ST. BENILDE 68 -- Haruna 13, Leutcheu 8, Young 8, Gutang 8, Naboa 8, Flores 6, Belgica 5, Dixon 4, Mosqueda 3, Nayve 3, Lim 2, Carlos 0.
MAPUA 62 -- Lugo 13, Serrano 11, Aguirre 10, Bunag 9, Gonzales 7, Bonifacio 7, Victoria 3, Nocum 2, Gamboa 0, Nieles 0, Salenga 0, Jabel 0, Garcia 0.
QUARTERS: 22-19, 35-29, 52-44, 68-62
JRU 77 - Dela Rosa 21, Miranda 13, Vasquez 13, Aguilar 10, Jungco 6, Arenal 4, Amores 4, Dionisio 2, Abaoag 2, Macatangay 2, Delos Santos 0
ARELLANO 73 - Salado 22, Alcoriza 20, Arana 8, Concepcion 5, Santos 5, Oliva 5, Sablan 3, Espiritu 3, Bayla 2, Talampas 0
QUARTERS: 13-18, 35-38, 55-56, 77-73