After a rousing start to their NCAA Season 95 campaign, the College of St. Benilde Blazers’ winning streak came to an end on Friday.
Despite a spirited endgame rally, the Blazers fell short, falling to last season’s runners-up Lyceum Pirates, 70-74.
Despite the loss, Saint Benilde head coach TY Tang liked what he saw from the Blazers.
“I like how we finished the game in terms of trying and trying and trying, and we never gave up all the way through,” said Tang.
Down by as much as 20 points entering the fourth quarter, the Blazers fortified their defensive schemes. They forced the Pirates to commit timely turnovers while also collecting 15 foul shots during the final frame.
Clement Leutcheu managed to slice the lead down to four, 70-74. Unfortunately, Yankie Haruna and Jimboy Pasturan both had crucial misses to seal the Blazers’ fate.
“Again, I never thought naman na we’re gonna sweep the whole NCAA Season.
“I felt naman na if we’re gonna lose, we’re gonna lose to a contending team like LPU who’s been there up in two finals appearances the last two seasons,” Tang explained.
Even with the loss, seeing his team fight back until the final buzzer says a lot about Benilde’s maturity — a character of the team that, according to Tang, they still have to improve.
They also need to quickly adjust to the grind, as the Blazers only had two days to prepare against the Pirates. Saint Benilde just came from a game against the Arellano Chiefs last Tuesday.
“Again, it’s a good, positive sign for us. Maturity is still a part of the things that we still have to learn and get through,” he said.
Entering a tough stretch against the San Beda Red Lions and the Letran Knights next Friday and Tuesday, Tang is pretty confident about his team’s chances.
With Benilde showing plenty of character in this match, Tang believes that his team is bound to get one from the league’s powerhouses.
“The confidence shouldn’t go down. I feel we’re still zoned in in terms of our next few games.
“They know how tough this season will be from the very beginning. We’ve had a painful experience from the previous season, and for sure there’s still a sting sa amin. And I feel because of those two things and the hunger will break through one day. Not today, but probably against Beda or Letran. We’ll be able to get at least one of those games,” Tang claimed.
The Blazers will go up against the Red Lions on Friday, August 23. Then they will fight the Knights on Tuesday, August 27 to cap off their first-round campaign.