Both sporting a tailending 1-4 records, the two teams are eyeing to get out of the cellar in their scheduled 4 p.m. encounter at the FilOil Arena in San Juan City and set their sail in the current season of the country’s longest-standing collegiate league back on the right track.
Preceding the CSB-Mapua engagement is the match between the Emilio Aguinaldo College Generals and Arellano Chiefs at 2 p.m.
Following a “gift” of a win in their tournament debut where they were handed the victory by way of forfeiture when their opponent wore the wrong shade of uniform, the Blazers, while have been competing better this season, have lost four straight since.
The last of their losses was at the hands of Letran, 92-78, last Thursday in an “NCAA on Tour” match at the Knights’ home in Muralla.
In said game, the Blazers were in the contest three-fourths of the way but were not able to sustain the fight in the payoff quarter as Rey Nambatac and the rest of the Knights pulled away for the victory in front of their home crowd.
From a score of 66-all at the end of the third quarter, Nambatac spearheaded a fourth-quarter assault while shutting the Blazers’ offense down.
Unique Naboa led the Blazers in their last game with 17 points while Clement Leutcheu had 12 points and eight rebounds.
Kendrix Belgica also was in double-digit scoring with 10 to go along with six boards.
“We have been competing but we are still a work in progress. But that should not stop us and continue to improve and play as a team,” said first-year CSB coach TY Tang of his team so far.
ON THE SAME BOAT
Also on the same boat as CSB is Mapua, which has lost three straight since bagging its first victory of the season a month ago.
The Atoy Co-coached Cardinals’ most recent defeat came last Friday against Season 93 host San Sebastian, 75-66.
Veteran Andoy Estrella tried hard to lead his team victory with 27 points, but that proved to be not enough as they played catch-up for much of the way.
Christian Bunag also had it solid with nine points and 17 rebounds for the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, EAC (2-2) returns to the court after nearly a two-week break against currently stumbling Arellano (2-3).
The Generals were victorious in their previous game over Mapua, 77-72, on July 25, with Sydney Onwubere firing a game-high 22 points, including a clutch three-pointer that staved off the fightback of the Cardinals.
Jervin Guzman, Jesse Bautista and Raymund Pascua came off the bench to chip in 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively, to help the Generals seal the win.
A victory for EAC today pushes it to No. 3 in the standings, ahead of idle Letran (3-3) and behind unbeaten Lyceum of the Philippines University (6-0) and defending champion San Beda (5-1).
Currently performing well, EAC coach Ariel Sison underscored the team’s dogged determination as a key reason for their showing so far.
“We have a veteran squad and it’s a matter of getting that will to win,” said Mr. Sison.
Out to stop the Generals are the Chiefs, which have lost back-to-back games entering the contest.