College of Saint Benilde will be on a hunt for first victory when it battles Lyceum of the Philippines University today in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 92 men’s basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.
The Blazers under coach Gabby Velasco will take on the Pirates in the second game at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. opening match between Jose Rizal University (JRU) and Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC).
“We talked yesterday [Tuesday] and earlier [Wednesday]. I told my players to stay positive and learn from our previous losses,” Velasco told The Manila Times. “Things went ugly, but we have to move on. I’m sure we can still pull it off.”
The Blazers will rely on gunner Jay Jay Domingo, guard Christian Fajarito, Nigerian Clement Lentcheu, Filipino-American forward-center Yankee Haruna, Edward Dixon, veteran big man Pons Saavedra, Gerard Castor and Carlo Young in their attempt to post their first win this season.
“I also told my players to keep their focus on us. I’m hoping we can post a win streak to keep our chances this season,” Velasco added.
Lyceum, under the tutelage of coach Topex Robinson, is coming off an impressive win against JRU via Nigerian Mike Nzeusseu’s career-high 24 points and 21 rebounds, and rookie Adrian Alban’s 19 points.
“We are not underestimating any team here. We know their capability,” stressed Robinson.
The Heavy Bombers, meanwhile, are hoping to bounce back with a win against the Generals.
JRU, Lyceum, San Sebastian and EAC are in a four-way tie for fifth with 1-3 win-loss record each.
The Heavy Bombers will be banking on the talents of Tey Teodoro, Paolo Pontejos, Jordan dela Paz as well as the Cameroonian duo of Abdel Poutouochi and Abdul Razak Abdul Wahab.
“We’re not playing with heart. I’m hoping the players will step up,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.
The Generals, who almost pulled off a win against San Beda College and defending champion Letran in their previous games, will rely on big man Hamadou Laminou, Sydney Onwubere, Francis Munsayac, Remy Morada and Igee King.
“We have games that we had a chance to win but we blew our opportunities,” EAC coach Ariel Sison said, pertaining to the Generals’ 67-70 defeat to Mapua last week.