COLLEGE of St. Benilde coach Richard del Rosario wants his wards to step up defensively when they face San Sebastian on Saturday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Blazers defeated Lyceum, 70-61, in their season debut on Monday behind a defense that allowed just two Pirates -- Chris Cayabyab and Shane Ko -- to reach double figures in scoring.
Del Rosario, however, believes his squad needs to come up with an even tougher defense to have a chance against the Stags who have a lot more offensive weapons than the Pirates.
“If we defend that way against San Sebastian we have no chance,” he said.
The Blazers, considered a dark horse this season, have to find a way to limit the 'Pinatubo trio' of Calvin Abueva, Ian Sangalang, and Ronald Pascual as well as the Stags’ stellar supporting cast led by Jovit dela Cruz.
Sangalang and Abueva shone in the Stags 80-74 loss to Letran on opening day as they combined for 42 points and 31 rebounds, but Pascual, still not fully recovered from an ACL injury, went scoreless in 16 foul-plagued minutes.
Carlo Lastimosa starred for the Blazers against Lyceum with 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, where his squad’s 14-0 run spelled the difference.
He’s expected to be at the forefront of the Blazers’ offensive attack anew, along with Paolo Taha, Mark Romero, Jonathan Grey, and Luis Sinco providing scoring support.
The 4 p.m. match will be followed by a game pitting University of Perpetual Help against Letran -- two teams who like the Blazers won their opening assignments.
Coach Aric del Rosario made a rousing return to coaching last Thursday as he led the Altas to an 82-70 win over Lyceum.
The Knights beat the Stags behind Kevin Alas’ 31-point night.