The looming absence of gunner Migs Oczon will hardly affect the morale of College of Saint Benilde when it faces Letran College in Game 2 of their Season 98 National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament best-of-three finals series.
In a text message, Blazers head coach Charles Tiu said they have been training without Oczon, who sprained his ankle after stepping on Kyle Tolentino’s foot during their 75-81 loss to the Knights in Game 1 last Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Oczon is still injured. He can’t walk or move well so we doubt he can play. We are preparing to play without him,” said Tiu, adding that they are ready to play without the prized transferee from National University.
“Guys like Robi Nayve, Jimboy Pasturan and JC Cullar have to step up. They didn’t play well at all in the first game.”
Nayve only had nine points for the Blazers in Game 1 while Pasturan and Cullar had four and two points, respectively, as the Blazers were outclassed by the favored Knights squad behind the solid plays of veterans Louie Sangalang. Fran Yu, King Caralipion and Fran Yu.
Worse, most of the Blazers were suffering cramps in Game 1, making it harder for them to battle the Knights.
Still, everything is not yet lost for the Blazers.
Tiu said they will do everything to forge an equalizer on Sunday and extend the series to a winner-take-all Game 3 on 18 December.
From there, anything can happen.
“Well it’s win or go home. All we ask is to leave them all on the floor, and try to give our veterans one more game,” he said.