COL­LEGE OF ST. BE­NILDE BLAZ­ERS

THE BLAZ­ERS FIN­ISHED SEV­ENTH LAST SEA­SON WITH A 5-11 MARK, AHEAD ONLY OF THE EAC GEN­ER­ALS AND THE UPHSD AL­TAS. IT WAS WHAT COULD BE EX­PECTED FROM A TEAM WITH EIGHT ROOK­IES AND TWO SOPHO­MORES. IT LOOKS TO BE MORE OF THE SAME IN SEA­SON 87 FOR CSB AS COACH

Rebound Magazine - - NCAA PREVIEW - by Sid Ven­tura

In­com­ing sec­ond year play­ers Luis Sinco and Carlo Lastimosa will man the back­court for these young Blaz­ers, while Ian dela Paz, the team’s most vet­eran player, will man the slot. The for­wards will be sopho­more Tim McCoy at the four spot and rookie Mark Romero, a trans­feree from FEU, at the three po­si­tion. To fast-track the progress of his starters, del Rosario in­cluded SInco, Lastimosa, McCoy and dela Paz in his PC Gil­more team that com­peted in the in­au­gu­ral PBA De­vel­op­men­tal League.

Bench

The most in­trigu­ing player on CSB’s ros­ter is 6’11” Jeri­cho de Guz­man, who’s tried his luck at sev­eral schools al­ready and will fi­nally make his col­le­giate de­but with the Blaz­ers. Al­though not a par­tic­u­larly skilled big man, de Guz­man might just get a few min­utes here and there given CSB’s rather short front­line. But don’t ex­pect too much from him as he’s des­tined to be a pro­ject for­ever. In fact, can­cel that. Don’t ex­pect any­thing from him. He’s the type of player who will be heartily jeered when­ever he en­ters the game and touches the ball. Rookie Ralph De­les and sopho­more Jan Tan will be the main bigs off the bench for del Rosario.

For the wing po­si­tions, sev­eral play­ers were el­e­vated from CSB’s train­ing pool, most notable of which is JP Taha, a trans­feree from San Se­bas­tian who stands around 6’0” and can play the two

and three spots. New­comer Jonathan Grey, a walk-on, also fig­ures to get some min­utes at the wing spots, while ex-Red Cub An­ton Al­tami­rano will back up Sinco at point guard.

Del Rosario said he might also add Ron­nel Lastimosa, cousin of Carlo, to the lineup de­pend­ing on the re­sults of CSB’s col­lege en­trance ex­ams.

Coach­ing

Del Rosario will be en­ter­ing his third sea­son as coach, and you could say that this is the first team com­posed al­most en­tirely of his re­cruits, the only ex­cep­tion be­ing dela Paz. It took a lot of guts for him to blow up the team and vir­tu­ally start from scratch, but at least now he is sur­rounded by play­ers he him­self hand­picked and can there­fore trust. The down­side to that is, if this new line-up doesn’t pan out by next year, he can’t pin it on the play­ers any­more be­cause vir­tu­ally all of them are his re­cruits.

In­tan­gi­bles

The Taha-Lastimosa combo at shoot­ing guard is pretty in­trigu­ing. Both play­ers can score and take charge, and it would be in­ter­est­ing to see what del Rosario does with them. If Taha can be­come a scorer for the sec­ond unit, well and good. But if they can some­how play along­side each other, that would be fun to watch. How this dy­namic works out will be one of the things to keep an eye on.

Also, the bench has a lot of first­timers, but they’re not re­ally rook­ies in the truest sense of the word. Many are trans­fer­ees who have had some col­lege ball ex­pe­ri­ence at some level. If they put it to­gether faster than ex­pected, CSB could be in good shape.

Out­look

“Com­pared to other teams,” Del Rosario told this writer, “ we have less ex­pe­ri­ence since most of the play­ers are rook­ies in the NCAA.”

De­spite their youth, the Blaz­ers are hop­ing to sneak into the Fi­nal Four. “ We have a small lineup but I think that my wings can com­pete with their coun­ter­parts from all the other teams,” the coach said. It’s go­ing to be tough, though. San Beda, San Se­bas­tian, Le­tran, JRU and even Mapúa all have more ex­pe­ri­enced and tal­ented cores. The Blaz­ers should be com­pet­i­tive against the lower-rung teams, but against the NCAA’s elite, they will take their lumps. This team is built for a solid run next year.

C PF SF SG

PG Ian dela Paz Tim McCoy Mark Romero Carlo Lastimosa

Luis Sinco

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