Though both games were close, the Blazers wound up beating the Chiefs twice last season in their two encounters. In round one, four double-digits scorers trumped three, as CSB got more firepower from the likes of Carlo Lastimosa, Rafael Nayve, Jan Tan and Marc De Guzman, beating out Gerald Lapuz, Andrian Celada and Isiah Ciriacruz, 70-64. Round two was an even closer affair, as St. Benilde overturned a 26-15 Arellano first quarter to squeak by for a 71-69 win, led again by 19 from Marc De Guzman.
Stat to Watch : Arellano finds itself dead last in terms of free throws, in stark contrast to CSB which is first in that stat. They're also dead last in rebounding, 32 a game, and second-chance points, with just 5.29, which will make for an interesting game versus the short Benilde team.
Player to Watch : Mark Doligon took advantage of some bad play by Vergel Zulueta to present his case for more minutes. After playing just 13 minutes all season, Doligon got 20 versus San Sebastian and produced 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting, plus two rebounds, three assists and two steals. While we've seen some big bench performances in other games, the question is whether or not they can sustain their effort for another go. And with Isaac at the helm, the question becomes, will this guy see the minutes without a struggling starter?
Stat to Watch : CSB has been the only team to surrender more than 20 points in each quarter, and lead the league in points given up in the first and second periods. They're also second in total points given up thanks to surrendering more three point attempts (24.57) and field goal attempts (73.29) than any other team. While that's fine against lower-tier teams, that's the reason why squads like San Sebastian have been able to blow them out.
Player to Watch : Ian Dela Paz finally broke double-figures last game with 12, as the other half of CSB's timesharing center duo has mostly been quiet this past season. He's still not rebounding well, just 3.6 a game, and he's often content with taking jumpers, but versus JRU, Dela Paz got to the rim nine times and converted six, something he might want to do more of in the tailend of the first round.
Prediction: CSB Blazers