WHAT could’ve been an easier ride to the Final Four of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is turning out to be a complicated one for College of St. Benilde.
The Blazers bowed to Perpetual Help on Wednesday, 62-65, in a loss that left them in a tie in fourth spot with idle Jose Rizal University with a 10-6 loss card, instead of tightening their grip on third place.
And Blazers coach Gabby Velasco is hoping to avoid complications, but is bracing for the worst, considering their fellow Final Four contenders’ remaining schedule.
“Now, we’re put in a situation where we can’t lose a single game,” he said. “Perpetual’s going to get their twelfth win, JRU as well.”
The Altas, who improved to 11-6, face also-ran San Sebastian in their last game, while the Heavy Bombers take on eliminated Mapua and the Stags as well in their last two outings.
CSB is also set to battle Mapua next, but face a tough Letran side in their final match of the eliminations.
A three-way tie looms if the Blazers, Altas, and Bombers win their last three games, and a stepladder playoff for two semifinal spots will be played.
“Based on my computation of the quotient system, we might end up the No. 5 team,” Velasco said.
“I think they know their situation and they’re also computing, so they’re definitely going for the win.”
“It’s going to be a bonus for us if Perpetual loses and JRU loses. But we have to do our job, which is to win our last two games,” he added.
As if the potential complications are not enough, Arellano could also slip and join them if the second-running Chiefs (12-4) lose their last two games.
The Blazers could’ve avoided the complications had they beat the Altas.
Although they limited Baloria, the league’s leading scorer with over 20 points per game, to 15 markers on a paltry 5-of-21 shooting in 34 minutes, the Blazers allowed the Altas to grab 48 rebounds, including 20 on the offensive end.
“I like the way we defended Baloria. It’s just that hindi namin na-solusyonan yung offensive rebounds nila,” Velasco said.