Blazers to rely on speed, shooting in 91st NCAA

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SPEED, cohesion and outside shooting will be College of St. Benide Blazers’ most potent weapon when the 91st National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament starts on June 27 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Head coach Gabby Velasco said that the lack of size is not a problem for the team as they are more determine and more competitive this year. The Blazers almost made it to the Final Four with an 11-7 win-loss slate last year.

”We’ll be a little smaller this year but we’ll be faster and a little more determined,” said Velasco.

He said that even with the departure of Mark Romero and Juan Paolo Taha, who already turned professionals, the team has still a fair chance with Jonathan Grey at the helm.


”It’s tough when you lose two of our top three players from last season,” said Velasco of Romero and Taha. “But as always, we have to make do with what we have and maximize in areas we feel we’re strong at.”

Besides Grey, the Blazers charges will also lean on reigning NCAA three-point shooting champion Travis Jerome Jonson and a slew of undersized but tenacious big men in Pons Saavedra, Jeffrey Ryan Ongteco and Ralp Deles.

Velasco also said that he has strong confidence to newcomers Gerard Castor, Edward Dixon, John Domingo, Christian Fajarito, Amando San Juan, Rene Sta. Maria and Carlo Michael Young.

“This is college basketball, we have to be always ready to rebuild because players can only play as much as five years,” stressed Velasco.

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