Blazers, with newfound character, shoot for share of early lead
College of St. Benilde has become accustomed to squeezing out of tight situations three games into its NCAA Season 95 men’s basketball tournament schedule.
And CSB coach Ty Tang sees those close matches as a foundation for the resolve that the Blazers will need for the tougher grind ahead.
“Those tight games build the character of our team,” said Tang, whose Blazers survived the rough outing and homecourt edge of Mapua by churning out a 71-67 win at the Cardinals’ home floor five days ago.
The 3-0 Blazers are again ready for another grind, this time against the San Sebastian Stags at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan at 4 p.m. with another win giving them a share of the lead with defending champion San Beda.
“We expect another game that could go either way depending on our execution,” said Tang, who will lean on Senegalese big man Clement Leutcheu, Justine Gutang, Jimboy Pasturan and Kendrick Belgica anew.
The streaking Letran Knights will deal with the winless Cardinals in the curtain-raiser at 12 noon. The Knights will be coming off a close win over the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals.
The third match will see the struggling Perpetual Help Altas tangling with Arellano at 2 p.m.
Absorbing back-to-back setbacks after opening up with two straight wins, the Stags are determined to recover lost ground after taking a beating against last season’s finalists Lyceum and the Lions.
The Stags were badly beaten off the boards, especially when they allowed the Lions to collar 22 of 49 rebounds off the offensive glass.
RK Ilagan, the other half of San Sebastian’s 1-2 punch, was stymied on both games after expending more energy on shots that failed to hit the target.
Jerrick Balanza and Edson Batiller have been steady for the Knights, winners of their last four games.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.