A surging College of St. Benilde tries to continue its rise in the ranks as it takes on a slumping Mapua side Saturday in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Once stuck in the cellar after starting the season with five straight heartbreaking losses, the Blazers have now won two consecutive games to grab a share of sixth place.
And the Taft-based dribblers hope to keep the winning streak alive as they take the court at 4 p.m. against the Cardinals, who have replaced them in the bottom after losing five games in a row.
Still, Blazers coach Gabby Velasco remains wary of the Cardinals, who are toting a 1-6 win-loss card overall.
“We cannot take them lightly,” Velasco said. “We have to keep that winning attitude. We hope to finish the second round with a run. Hopefully it’s a winning run.”
It will be the second game in six days for the Blazers, who nipped Arellano, 69-62, last Monday, behind the Mark Romero, Paolo Taha, and Jonathan Grey.
The trio of wingmen are once again called upon against the Cardinals, who will be bannered by counterparts Kenneth Ighalo and Joseph Eriobu,
More than their offense, Cardinals coach Atoy Co is emphasizing defense to his team, which has allowed an unacceptable 79.3 points in their last three games.
“I believe if we can play good team defense, we can get out from this skid,” Co said.
Two others squads in the bottom half of the 10-team standings complete the double-header this weekend.
Emilio Aguinaldo College and Arellano, both tied with Benilde with 2-5 slates, square off in the second game at 6 p.m.