IF he could, he would.
Still unable to get the best out of his big men, College of St. Benilde coach Richard del Rosario offered an alternative plan on how his team can topple league giant San Beda when they collide on Saturday in the 88th NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
“I plan to play tomorrow so I can guard their import,” joked the 6-foot-5 Del Rosario, a former PBA center who had stints with Pepsi, Sta. Lucia, and Alaska, referring to the Lions’ 6-foot-8 Nigerian player Ola Adeogun.
“Kidding aside, we need to improve in two departments, rebounds and assists. If we can do that, then we have a chance for an upset,” added the coach, whose team is sixth in the league in both rebounds (43.8) and assists (15.1).
The Blazers try to stop a three game-slide as they face the defending champions in the 6 p.m. main game, with Del Rosario hoping to see a better performance from his big men, particularly Roberto Bartolo, JR Ongteco, and Jan Tan.
But outrebounding the Lions remain a tall order as the defending champion has other dependable frontcourt players in Jake Pascual, Kyle Pascual, and Arthur dela Cruz, apart from Adeogun.
The Lions, who are at the top of the heap with an 8-2 win-loss card, are also expected to draw significant production from sophomore playmaker Baser Amer, who registered a career-high 16 assists on top of nine points in the Lions’ 77-47 rout of Lyceum last week.
Scoring machine Carlo Lastimosa, along with Mark Romero and Paulo Taha, will also play crucial roles for the Blazers, who are in eighth place with a 3-7 record.
The Blazers, however, will be missing the services of third-leading scorer Joel Tolentino, who will be serving the second of his three-game suspension, which he incurred for figuring in a near free-for-all in the team’s game against Emilio Aguinaldo three weeks ago.
In the first game, the Generals and the Arellano Chiefs hope to ride the momentum of their rousing victories the last time as they square off at 4 o’clock.
The Generals turned back powerhouse San Sebastian College, 77-67, last Saturday in a win that moved them out of the cellar with a 3-7 slate.
The 4-6 Chiefs, on the other hand, outlasted second-running Jose Rizal University, 85-82, last Monday to stay in contention for a Final Four spot.