College of St. Benilde samples its new offensive system on Monday when it takes on Lyceum in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
The Blazers missed the Final Four last season, finishing in eighth place with a 6-12 win-loss mark that prompted coach Richard del Rosario to change things around.
Veering away from an offense that was centered on scoring machine Carlo Lastimosa, the Blazers have turned to the more team-oriented triangle offense this season.
Del Rosario hopes running the renowned system will lead to more wins this year, starting against the Pirates at 4 p.m.
“(The triangle is) something that I can involve everybody sa opensa eh,” he said. “Everybody will have a chance to score and be a threat.”
So far, the system has worked. From losing all their seven games in the Filoil Flying V preseason Cup last year, the Blazers won four games and made it to the quarterfinals in this year’s edition.
Lastimosa is still the focal point of the offense, but the Blazers have gained increased production from Mark Romero, Jonathan Grey, and Paolo Taha.
Recruits Robert Bartolo and Joel Tolentino have also showed their worth in the preseason.
But the Blazers have to be wary of a Lyceum squad that nearly made the semifinals last season.
Bannered by prolific swingmen Chris Cayabyab and Rich Guevarra, the Pirates will be a tough nut to crack.
Arellano University plays for the second straight day as it squares off with Emilio Aguinaldo College in the second game of the double-header at 6 p.m.
The Chiefs, who also use the triangle under new coach Koy Banal, will be led by Rocky Acidre, Vergel Zulueta, and Filipino-Canadian rookie James Forrester.
The Generals, on the other hand, parade their 6-foot-7 Cameroonian import Noube Happi, along with Season 87 top scorer Jan Jamon, Igee King, and Russell Yaya.
Two juniors games are also featured with the Benilde Greenies facing the Lyceum Junior Pirates at 12 noon and EAC Brigadiers taking on the Arellano Braves at 2 p.m.