The University of Perpetual Help Altas "graciously" provided two of CSB's five wins last season, with Arellano being the only other squad the Blazers were able to sweep. In the first round, a battle between two shooty guards broke out, with Carlo Lastimosa's 21 points edging Jett Vidal's 19. Though Arnold Danganan managed to lead all scorers with 22 points, Benilde had four other players in double-digits aside from Lastimosa, helping them secure the 79-70 win. Vidal bounced back to outscore Lastimosa in the second round though, 20-15, but he was the lone bright spot for the Altas, as once again, last season's rookie of the year had the benefit of better help, with Tim McCoy and Marc De Guzman providing 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Stat to Watch : The Altas capitalized on 32 JRU turnovers by scoring 25 points off them, a high for Perpetual Help all-season. They can't rely on free points from CSB in the same way though, as the Blazers are tied with San Beda in fewest turnovers per game, with just 16.8 errors a game. On the bright side, the Blazers also force the fewest turnovers, just 16.2 a game.
Player to Watch : Jeorge Allen surprised everyone by coming off the bench in the second overtime to lead the Altas to their first victory, scoring the game-winning layup. It remains to be seen though if that was a "hail mary" sort of play by the Altas, putting Allen in because of a lack of other personnel, or if Allen is ready to play extended minutes once again. He averaged 10.4 points and 4.87 rebounds last season, production the Altas sorely missed in his absence.
Stat to Watch : The Blazers are dead last when it comes to offensive rebounds. They're last in getting them, pulling down just 9.4 a game, and they're also last in giving them up, allowing opponents on average 21 in each encounter. Surprisingly, despite the lack of any real height, Perpetual Help gets 16 offensive rebounds a game, good for fourth place, while conceding just 14.8 repossessions. The three aforementioned big men have to do a better job, especially when the guys you're lined up against, are about the same height as you are.
Player to Watch : Carlo Lastimosa's scoring might be down a bit to just 16.8 points a game, but he's attacking the rim and trooping to the line more often, getting 9, 4, 10, and 10 attempts in his four games this season. Friday will see him in a shooter's duel with Jett Vidal, who's been the opposite of efficient as of late and it could be a nice wake-up call for him to finally develop other aspects of his game, like his passing. If the Blazers could run Lastimosa out as point guard, that means they can put guys like Taha and Grey out at the same time, which would greatly benefit their ability to put points on the board.
Prediction: CSB Blazers