Bulanadi tows Stags to semifinals

Allyn Bulanadi exploded with a career-high 44 points to propel San Sebastian College-Recoletos past also-ran University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 99-94, and to the semifinals of Season 95 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seniors basketball tournament on Friday.

MVP candidate Bulanadi made the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City his playground, as he fired 14-of-26 from the field and scored 11 of his team’s last 15 points, enabling the Golden Stags to book the remaining Final Four ticket with an 11-7 record.

“Coach [Egay Macaraya] said we have to enter the Final Four. So, I just did my best for Baste,” said the graduating shooting forward, who eclipsed his previous career-best 32 points and also tallied eight rebounds, four assists and a steal in powering San Sebastian back to the semifinals after missing it out last season.

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San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi goes for a layup against Ben Adamos of University of Perpetual Help during a Season 95 NCAA seniors basketball game on Friday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI

“He (Bulanadi) has already proven many times that he can really play,” said Macaraya of his prized ward.

San Sebastian will face No. 3 Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the first phase of the knockout stepladder semifinals on November 5, with the winner taking on No. 2 Lyceum of the Philippines University on November 8.

Defending champion San Beda University, which swept the 18-game double elimination round, is already waiting in the best-of-three championship series that will start on November 12.

“We know how difficult this campaign was for us. Good thing we will have a much-needed break [before the semifinals],” said Macaraya.

Bulanadi drew ample support from fellow veterans RK Ilagan and Alvin Capobres, who chipped in 22 and 10 points, respectively, in the win that booted Mapua University out of semifinal contention.

Bulanadi caught fire to hand San Sebastian an early 33-21 advantage, but Perpetual cut the gap down to 44-48 at the half.

The 6-foot-2 hotshot then joined forces with Ilagan to push the Stags ahead anew, 68-53, midway the third frame.

The Altas, though, staged another fightback and even stole the lead, 82-81, on Kim Aurin’s jumper at the 4:35 mark of the payoff period.

With the semifinal berth at stake, Bulanadi took matters into his own hands as he drained crucial baskets to secure the win.

Playmaker Edgar Charcos had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while forward Aurin had 20 markers and six boards to end their NCAA career for Perpetual.

The Las Piñas-based Altas closed their campaign at No. 7 with a 5-13 slate.

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