These two teams actually split their season series last year, with San Sebastian taking the first game, and Arellano dealing an upset loss to the Stags in round two. The first round meeting ended 69-58, as Calvin Abueva's 17 points edged out the 16 of Andrian Celada. In game two though, playing without Ronald Pascual due to dengue fever, Celada teamed up with Isiah Ciriacruz for 40 points, to edge the Stags late, despite a 23-10 fourth quarter by San Sebastian, setting up the 64-62 surprise win for the Chiefs. In the Fil-Oil summer tournament, a 27-10 third quarter by the Stags set up the blowout win, 82-68, as the Pinatubo Trio and Jonathan Semira all finished in double digits.
Stat to Watch : The Chiefs like a little second-quarter collapse, which is not unexpected, given how they usually play their starters the entire 10 minutes of the first quarter. They score only 15 points in the second period, the fewest in the league, but the fatigue really hits them in the fourth, defensively, when they allow a league-worst 24.17 points, with only CSB averaging in the 20's, with 20.29.
Player to Watch : Vergel Zulueta is in for a tough day at the office, having to carry the team's scoring on his back, given the inconsistency of Celada, while also being assigned to guard Ronald Pascual on the other end of the court. Zulueta currently averages 17.3 points on 48% shooting, in 35 minutes but it'll be interesting to see if shadowing Pascual will take its toll on him, or if he'll just be dunked on.
Stat to Watch : San Sebastian continues to flex its defensive might, holding opponents to the lowest shooting percentages in the league, 20.49 percent from beyond the arc, 38.92 percent on two-pointers, and 33.79 percent overall field goal shooting. Given Arellano's generally okay shooting numbers, they could be in for a lot of trouble scoring against the Stags.
Player to Watch : Calvin Abueva had a horrible outing, generally looking disinterested defensively, while compounding his squad's problems with no assists and seven turnovers. Odds are he'll look to bounce back against the Chiefs, a team he played well against last season, leading the Stags in scoring in both games.
Prediction: SSCR Stags