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Tiebreaker Times


Charles Tiu navigates roster challenges for NCAA 100 glory

Entering the first-ever NCAA Seniors Basketball Tournament battle-for-third game against Lyceum of the Philippines University, College of Saint Benilde head coach Charles Tiu already had the future in mind.

“If you had asked me last week, I wouldn’t have wanted to play this game because I thought we were already defeated, but we’ll take it, right? Under normal circumstances, we would have been fourth, but at least we had another game. I like playing basketball, I like being around basketball, so I told the guys we have another chance to showcase,” explained Tiu.

“For the young guys, they can show me those who are trying to fight for a spot next year. I said, no matter what, people are still watching you, so it’s a good chance to represent our school, and it was nice to win third place for Benilde.”

NCAA-99-Battle-for-3rd-LPU-vs.-CSB-CSB-2 Charles Tiu navigates roster challenges for NCAA 100 glory Basketball CSB NCAA News  - philippine sports newsThe second-year head coach entered the matchup looking to evaluate his squad’s collection of young and promising players, fully aware that NCAA Season 100 is on the horizon.

And as the 100th year of the NCAA approaches, Tiu knows how challenging it will be to figure out who he’ll bring in to conquer it.

“We have at least eight to nine guys who can compete for a spot on the team. Obviously, we have [Tony] Ynot, [Justine] Sanchez, [Allen] Liwag; those three are our biggest names, our top recruits, along with Anton Eusebio from UP. But we have a few guys under the radar that I think can contribute, some point guards coming in,” admitted Tiu.

Other incoming recruits for the Blazers are Gab Cometa; Red Cubs product Nathan Victoria; former Centro Escolar University floor general Jhomel Ancheta; Immaculada Concepcion College standouts Roger Ondoa and Ian Torres; San Joaquin Delta College’s Matthew Oli; Gavilan College’s Tahjae Ordonio (son of ex-PBA player Jon Ordonio); Irele Galas from Iloilo; and Jeric Canete from Cagayan de Oro.

#ReadMore  Escoto, Iloilo do just enough to beat Sarangani, go to fourth in MPBL South

Given the wide array of weapons Tiu has in his arsenal, he knows the tough task of figuring out which ones to wield falls onto him.2023-Asiabasket-Dasmarinas-CSB-Blazers Charles Tiu navigates roster challenges for NCAA 100 glory Basketball CSB NCAA News  - philippine sports news

“It’s gonna be tough. As early as now, I’ve been stressing out about how to figure out my lineup, how I’m gonna give everybody an opportunity in the offseason, but I guess it’s a better problem to have than having no players. We just have to see how the cards fall, and hopefully, everybody’s healthy and can compete for a spot next year,” he said.

No matter how talented Tiu’s incoming pool of players is, he knows it takes more than skill to win in the NCAA. As the coach, the job rests on him to develop relationships with his new stars to get them to buy into his system.

“I’m not sure, to be honest, because I’m expecting a completely different team. At least with this core, I’m familiar with them. We have a good relationship now, I feel like starting from scratch with these guys.

“Coaching isn’t just about X’s and O’s; it’s also about building relationships with your players, so we have to work on that. But again, it’s good that we still have players that we know are already proven and can play in the NCAA. It’s just a matter of maximizing them; hopefully, we can bring out their games and help them improve from their previous stints, previous teams,” Tiu stated.

Regardless of all the changes ahead, Tiu and the rest of the Blazers still fully expect to enter Season 100 as Finals contenders as they aim to secure the NCAA championship.

Written By

Vito Martin is a sportswriter from the Philippines. In 2023, he graduated from the Ateneo De Manila University with a degree in BS Psychology. He wrote for Ateneo’s official school publication The GUIDON, where he covered basketball, football, baseball, badminton, and other collegiate sports. He is a life-long fan of the Boston Celtics and an avid follower of the NBA

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