NCAA Season 89 host College of St. Benilde was just a defensive stop away from a successful come-from-behind win and a monumental upset on opening day.
Trailing throughout the match and down by15 in the payoff period, the Blazers mounted a comeback and eventually took a one point lead 70-69 with 4.7 seconds left after Jose Saavedra knocked down in a triple.
Unfortunately in the succeeding play, Art dela Cruz scored off an alley-oop from an inbound pass to give San Beda the win.
Mark Romero scored 19 points and 8 rebounds while Paolo Taha added 15 for the Blazers, who despite the departure of several key players fought tooth and nail against the three-time defending champion.
The team showed a lot of promise in the preseason under new had coach Gabby Velasco as they finished runner-up in the Father Martin’s Cup last March and had a decent stint in the recently-concluded Fil-Oil tournament.
Velasco was a former DLSU player who had a one-year stint as head coach of the Green Archers back in 1992 before piloting St Francis of Assisi College to numerous championships in various leagues.
In his first year with the Blazers, Velasco emphasized that the team needs to undergo a change in attitude.
“Attitude,” said Velasco. “There’s going to be a lot of changes there.”
San Beda 71 – Dela Cruz 16, Adeogun 11, Dela Rosa 10, Amer 9, Koga 8, Mendoza 4, D. Semerad 4, Abarcar 3, Ludovice 2, Pascual 2, A. Semerad 2.
St. Benilde 70 – Romero 19, Taha 15, Ongetco 10, Saavedra 10, Bartolo 9, Argamino 3, Garcia 2, Sinco 2, Carlos 0, Deles 0, Grey 0, Jonson 0.