Thursday, July 7, 2011


History Lesson:
In the first encounter between the Stags and Blazers last season, Saint Benilde nearly pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback, losing by just a point, 75-74, after outscoring the San Sebastian 21 to 13 in the final period. The second game wasn't as tight though, with the Stags winning 62-51. Production-wise, the Stags constantly got balanced scoring from their players, while the Blazers leaned heavily on rookie of the year, Carlo Lastimosa (averaged 23 points in the two encounters).

Benilde Storyline: The Blazers clearly missed the services of Carlo Lastimosa in their maiden game of the season, as they struggled to get points from their guards. It's not known yet if he'll play tomorrow, but Benilde clearly needs his 17.25 points a game if the team is to compete against this Stags squad. After a good performance in their first game, the starting front court of Mark Romero, Paolo Taha and Ian Dela Paz will have their hands full guarding Ian Sangalang, Ronald Pascual and Calvin Abueva.
Stat to Watch: Second-chance points; against the undersized Lyceum Pirates, the Blazers were wrecked on the glass, to the tune of +8 offensive rebounds and +10 second chance points. With Sangalang and Abueva active on the glass, the Blazers will need to triple their effort to try to get some garbage points.
Player to Watch: Mark Romero; after a nice debut in which this kid got a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, he'll have the unenviable task of duplicating that performance against one of the scrappiest, shutdown guys in the league in Calvin Abvueva. And if Lastimosa is still out, then the Blazers will truly need to bleed for every point they can get.

San Sebastian Storyline: The Stags managed to pick up the win even with Calvin Abueva suspended, thanks to the emergence and clutch play of Ian Sangalang. In his absence, players like Dexter Maiquez, Bobby Balucanag and Michael Miranda struggled, getting into foul trouble (and in the case of Maiquez and Balucanag, fouling out) against the smaller, quicker JRU big men. The Blazers have some of that too, so it'll be interesting to see if foul trouble will be an issue in this game as well.
Stat to Watch: Starters minutes played; against JRU, Sangalang, Pascual, Jonathan Semira, and Anthony Del Rio all played 30 or more minutes, as foul trouble and subpar play from the reserves threatened to do them in. It'll be interesting to see how much burn Coach Topex Robinson gives them in this game, and over the course of the season.
Player to Watch: Calvin Abueva, No doubt, Abueva's itching to play, and the mercurial guard put up some insane numbers during the Fil-Oil tournament (21.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists). Against a defensively soft team like the Blazers, chances are he's going to explode and run amock amongst them.

Prediction: San Sebastian Stags

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