Stags get welcome reprieve

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    HAVING a relatively young team, San Sebastian College coach Egay Macaraya has welcomed the postponement of the opening of the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup due to the threat posed by the deadly coronavirus.

    The nearly three-week delay should help the Stags, who will carry the colors of Apex Fuel Mindanao-San Sebastian, toughen up for the season-opening tourney originally set to begin today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Instead, it will start on March 2 at the Paco Arena in Manila.

    “I have a new team and a very short preparation,” Macaraya told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday. “The postponement really helps, giving us time to jell and be cohesive.”

    The opening of the 45th Season of the PBA was also moved from March 1 to March 8, still at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    “It’s a preventive measure against nCoV. It’s now in place and will be implemented. The safety of our fans, teams, players and officials remain to be our utmost priority,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

    The Recto-based five will no longer have prolific wingman Allyn Bulanadi, who was tabbed by Alaska in the special Gilas Pilipinas draft last December, and Alvin Capobres, who was selected by Magnolia in the pro league.

    Gunner RK Ilagan and forward JM Calma are expected to lead Apex Fuel Mindanao-San Sebastian’s charge.

    The 5-foot-8 Ilagan averaged 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while the 6-foot-5 Calma was good for 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game in the last NCAA cage wars.