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Blazers eye semis return

Games today:
(Filoil EcoOil Centre)
12:00 noon — Saint Benilde
vs San Sebastian
3:00 p.m. — Perpetual
vs Arellano

College of Saint Benilde shoots for a return ticket to the Final Four after two decades of absence when it takes on San Sebastian College in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 98 men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil EcoOil Centre today.

Denied of formally clinching a semifinal seat in their previous outing, the Blazers will try to snag it this time in the 12:00 noon tipoff.

Sporting a 10-4 win-loss slate at no. 3 spot, Saint Benilde needs just one more win to join three-peat-seeking Letran College (12-3) and Lyceum of the Philippines in the semis for its first Final Four appearance since 2002.

Meanwhile, controversial University of Perpetual Help System Dalta and Arellano University square off at 3 p.m. as both look to gather as much win as they can for a decent season campaign.

The Atlas might still have to play without veteran Mark Omega, who is out due to health and safety protocols.

Perpetual and the Chiefs carry 7-9 and 6-9 slates , respectively.

Still, the focus remains on the Saint Benilde-San Sebastian clash.

Blazers head coach Charles Tiu wants to see his wards go all-out to claim the right to advance to the next round after failing the last time out with an 83-89 defeat at the hands of Perpetual.

“I told them it’s their season. If they want to make things happen, they have to win,” Tiu said.

“For a team that has playoff aspirations, you have to win these games. I told them if they played like that (in our loss to Perpetual), Baste will kill us.”

Tiu will have Ladis Lepalam back after a one-game ban joining Will Gozum, Migs Oczon and Miggy Corteza.

With a 6-8 card, the Stags’ fate for a semis seat is already out of their hands.

San Sebastian is hard-pressed to win all of its remaining games and pray that either the Blazers or San Beda University, who is fourth at 10-5 in the standings, don’t reach 11 victories.

The Stags are coming off a 65-73 loss to Lyceum last Sunday in a match that saw Egay Macaraya’s wards commit 25 turnovers.

“If everyone had a good game or wasn’t tired, those turnovers never would have happened,” said Macaraya, who will bank on the efforts of Ichie Altamirano, Jessie Sumoda and Rhinwill Yambing.
“Hopefully, everybody steps up so that the team won’t be too tired.”

If Saint Benilde beats San Sebastian, San Beda University (10-5) automatically completes the semis cast.

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