At First Glance: San Sebastian College-Recoletos Golden Stags
Pio Garcia (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2013 - 12:00am

They’ve had three Finals appearances all against the San Beda Red Lions, winning on the first joust before being hunted down in the last two. Last year, they ran into a hot-shooting Kevin Alas that made the brilliant all-around play of Calvin Abueva forgettable. Letran ran roughshod on them on the way to punching a Finals ticket. How would they shape up this year now that Topex Robinson is back in the fold?

The Good

Topex Robinson is back.

And this time around, he has more reign than he could have ever imagined. This guy was hampered by the team’s “financiers” on how to run the team when they don’t know scrat about basketball. Look what they did when Topex left. They utterly submarined their team’s chances while being able to line up their pockets. Now that they have moved on to shower another institution with their “wealth” and “resources,” San Sebastian can recapture that glory that is clean, and outrightly, theirs.

It’s also good that they have moved out. Gone are the tags of the “Mercenary Squad” or “Team BMW (if you get what it means).” This is a fresh start for the new crop of Golden Stags. But for the holdovers, this can work out pretty much to their advantage. They will finally get the chance to show their wares and learn from a head coach who’s probably one of the best rebounding point guards and tenacious defenders in the land during his playing days.

The Bad

The bad for SSC now is that, they’ll pretty much finish out of the Final Four for the first time in what, five years? They are a shell of their former selves and we’ll get to that in the ugly part of this preview.

Another thing that’s bad is their reputation. With Abueva’s past antics to Pamboy Raymundo’s shenanigans in a Red and Gold uni, they have been called “Sthugs.” And for good reason. Dexter Maiquez was also a “physical” proponent of cheapshotting down low among others.

It’s high time they shed that tag and resume the class act that was long forgotten.

The Ugly

So what gets ugly for this team? Oh maybe, losing your top three guys on the squad because you lost their benefactor?

The Stags bid adieu to the Pinatubo Trio of Calvin Abueva, Ronald Pascual and Season 88 MVP Ian Sanggalang. That’s around at least 60 points a night, coupled with 26 rebounds, and around 10 to 13 assists depending on whether Abueva has a triple-double, and let’s not forget the blocks and steals.

Now where will Topex get those from his wards? Who’s ready to step up?

Watch out for…

No Abueva? No problem.

It seems the Stags have lucked into another Abueva-type of player. All hustle, all heart, all energy, minus the thuggish swagger.

CJ Perez will be leading this stags even if he’s just a new guy. In FilOil competitions, this guy was being gushed over by veteran sports writers simply because he plays bigger than his listed height. He’s a double-double machine who’s also a two-way player in that he can also score and dish off to an open teammate on the break the way Abueva does.

Gold swagger in the makes?

Hell yes.

Team Roster

1. Aquino, Eulo Ryan A.

2. Balid, Rhoniel V.

3. Balucanag, Bobby J.

4. De Vera, Leodaniel D.

5. Dela Cruz, Jovit D.

6. Guinto, Bradwyn M.

7. Gusi, Joseph Raffy P.

8. Magno, Mark Philip J.

9. Ortuoste, John Kervin P.

10. Padilla, Carl Angelo M.

11. Perez, Jaymar G.

12. Rebollos Jr., Paulino A.

13. Tano, Ranimark V.

14. Trinidad, Mark Anthony G.

15. Vergara, Guiseppe Vitorio O.

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