Thursday, September 8, 2011


History Lesson:
Defense was the key in this early season game, as the Stags held the Blazers to just two points early on while scoring 10 themselves. That essentially was the game, seeing as how St. Benilde could not get any close after that, despite having Carlo Lastimosa play for the first time in the season, after missing their team's opener with illness. Krushev Ferrer had a nice stint in this game, scoring 10, including a five-point burst in the fourth that padded the lead up to 15, San Sebastian's biggest of the game. From then on, it was cruise control for the Stags, on route to a 76-68 win. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
  • The San Sebastian Stags have booked a ticket to the Final Four with their 12-0 record, but they're still looking to stay unbeaten, or at the very least, claim a twice-to-beat advantage in the post-season. Having just played Wednesday, fatigue might be an issue though, especially considering the starters got some burn late in the fourth quarter.
  • At 5-7, the CSB Blazers are still in the mix for spot number four in the standings, after the Mapua Cardinals lost to Letran, dropping to 6-7. A win here would leap-frog them over the LPU Pirates (assuming they don't win on this day as well) and put them just a half-game behind MIT.
SSCR Stat to Watch : The Stags have only been outrebounded twice this season, in the season-opener without Calvin Abueva versus JRU (by one), and versus Letran. Against the undersized Blazers team, the San Sebastian ought to have the run of the shaded lane again, the difference was 54-36 in the first encounter, and that very likely leads to second-chance opportunities.
SSCR Player to Watch : Krushev Ferrer and Lyle Antipuesto combined for five triples in this game, as the defense of CSB tried in vain to stop Sangalang and Abueva. Lately, those two have been struggling, with Ferrer last hitting a triple versus San Beda in the first round, and Antipuesto shooting blanks since Arellano in the first round as well. If they can get their confidence back in this game, their shooting will be a huge help to San Sebastian down the road.

CSB Stat to Watch : The Blazers get a huge lift from attacking the rim, norming 29.58 attempts at the foul line per game, second only to Letran. They had a 34 to 25 advantage in that category in the first round, but were not able to get any of the Stags' big men in foul trouble, which is what they ought to do in this rematch if they want to have a chance on the boards.
CSB Player to Watch : With Mark Romero having left the team to migrate with his family, the Blazers lose a large chunk of their scoring and rebounding. CSB hopes that Jan Tan will be able to replace his production, but his numbers have been all over the place, though to be fair, so have his minutes. With increased playing time, head coach Richard Del Rosario no doubt hopes a corresponding increase in Tan's 6 point, 4.2 rebound average materializes as well.

Prediction: SSCR Stags

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