Season host College of St. Benilde and Lyceum of the Philippines University shoot for their first win in the NCAA Season 97 men’s basketball tournament today at the La Salle Green Hills Gym.
Coming off an opening-day defeat to defending champion Letran, CSB rookie coach Charles Tiu is hoping for the Blazers to produce a better effort in their 3 p.m. clash with the Pirates.
Against the Knights, CSB had a good start and led by as much as 12 points before dropping a 63-67 loss in last Saturday’s inaugural.
“Positive is we were able to compete but we are not happy with the result. We were outworked and that was unacceptable,” said Tiu.
The Blazers, who will bank on big man AJ Benson, Carlo Lim, Robi Nayve and transferee Will Gozum, are looking first on what lies on the table.
“Just reminding them to focus one game at a time. Not looking past Lyceum at all,” said Tiu. “And for other guys to step up since we have some injured players.”
The Pirates, on the other hand, looked like a shadow of the team that made it to the Finals in 2017 and 2018.
Now under neophyte coach Gilbert Malabanan, LPU opened its campaign with a 76-84 loss to a San Beda side still looking solid even without a foreign student-athlete last Saturday.
Enoch Valdez, Enzo Navarro, and Jerwyn Guinto churned out double-digit numbers for the Pirates, who are hoping to have rookie Mac Guadaña to deliver more after only scoring two points in his college debut.
Jose Rizal University and University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, two teams will make their Season 97 debut, collide in the 12 noon curtain-raiser.
Under new broadcast partner GMA, the games are aired live on GTV channel 11.