Despite putting forth a strong effort, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazers were overpowered by the dominant play of San Beda University (SBU) Red Lions and Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates. The Blazers faced two tough losses on Feb. 4 and 5 at the Gatorade Hoops Center and Activate Hoops Center, respectively, in Mandaluyong for Pinoyliga’s Next Man cUP.
On Feb. 4, jitters quickly troubled the green side as Blazers crumbled against the Red Lions. During the first quarter, the Blazers kept the Red Lions at bay through combined efforts from Carlos Sumabat and Joshua Cajucom, who chipped in four and five points, 18-21.
Despite opening the second quarter with a 21-deadlock, an unfortunate series of errors and turnovers led them to a shooting drought. Hardly threatened, the Red Lions remained unfazed and stormed out a 13-0 run that kept the Blazers behind by 16, 24-40. Their forced executions and weak defense made things easier for San Beda’s six-point advantage to balloon into a 24-point lead. After another 11-to-none run from the red side, the Blazers closed the quarter with 11 accomplished points against the Red Lion, who dropped 30, 29-51.
Benilde’s attempts to halt San Beda’s silent onslaught were unsuccessful as Red Lion Emman Tagle steered his team to bury the Blazers 23 points deep, 43-68. The final quarter saw late heroics from Patrick Dimayuga, who capitalized on the paint and tried to forge a smaller margin by contributing nine points for his team. At the same time, the Red Lions sustained their defensive barrage against the Blazers and held on to their double-digit lead at the final buzzer, 63-86.
Sumabat top-scored for Benilde with 13 points and five rebounds. Dimayuga and Carlos also scored 12 and 11 points in double digits, respectively.
Meanwhile, Blazers also faced another tough challenge: they went up against the top-ranked Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates the following day.
Despite the Taft squad’s efforts, the Blazers could not secure a win as the Pirates defeated them with a final score of 57-89. The Pirates dominated the court from the start, showcasing their impressive skills and teamwork, leaving the Blazers struggling to keep up, 15-18.
In the second quarter, the Pirates’ relentless offense and impenetrable defense put pressure on the Blazers, who struggled to find their rhythm. The Pirates controlled the pace of the game, and their lead only continued to grow as the game progressed, 31-42.
In the third quarter, the Blazers put up a good fight, trailing behind the Pirates by just six points with a score of 37-48. However, their hopes for a win were shattered when the Pirates went on a 14-9 run, extending their lead to 51-62.
At the end of the match, the Pirates’ quick ball movement and accurate shooting gave them a significant advantage over the Blazers, who found it difficult to keep up with the fast pace of the game. The Pirates dominated the court, displaying their impressive skills and teamwork, leaving the Blazers unable to mount a comeback, 57-89.
Sunday’s match further solidified the Pirates' position as the top team in the league, bringing their winning streak to five games with a 5-1 win-loss record, while the Taft squad was demoted with a 2-3 win-loss record.
The Benilde Blazers have more games lined up in Pinoyliga's Next Man cUP. Benildeans can stay updated on the schedule and live stream details by following Pinoyliga cUP's Facebook page.