CSB inspired to outdo last season’s almost there finish

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 24, 2015 07:13 PM
CSB inspired to outdo last season’s almost there finish
YOUNG GUNS. Jonathan Grey may be the main man, but prized rookies JJ Domingo and Christian Fajarito will need to provide immediate impact for CSB to break a 13-year Final Four drought.

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 11-7, fifth

YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: Jonathan Grey, Fons Saavedra, JR Ongteco

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: JJ Domingo, Christian Fajarito

GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Mark Romero, Paolo Taha

Last season, College of St. Benilde was one win away from making their first Final Four since 2002.

Lady luck may not have smiled upon them, but coach Gabby Velasco sees nothing but positives from their almost there finish. “Yung grupo this year, mas determinado na manalo kasi they were inspired with what happened last year,” he told ABS-CBN Sports.

In fact, Velasco said they won’t take anything less than a Final Four finish in the upcoming NCAA season. “Every year, we’re always aiming higher. We will try everything to outdo last year’s achievement,” he said.

However, the Blazers will have to make the most of their inspired play to be able to compensate for the loss of last year’s leading scorers in Mark Romero and Paolo Taha. Moreover, the Taft-based team needs to prove it can match-up in the interior with the Final Four teams, all of whom have only gotten bigger, after ending second-worst in both rebounds and blocks.

The good news is that Velasco is of firm belief that all the answers he needs is already on the lineup. “It’s going to be tough kasi we have eight rookies. Pero yung seven veterans, yun yung mga aasahan namin talaga then we’re hoping our new guys can contribute,” he said.

The third leading scorer the last time around will now be the main man and his coach has all the trust in Jonathan Grey to make it happen. “Jonathan is fully aware of his role and value to the team. Alam niya na he cannot let them down because inaasahan siya ng lahat,” Velasco said.

CSB is also expecting immediate impact from a pair of prized recruits from Far Eastern University-Diliman in JJ Domingo and Christian Fajarito. Domingo will be looked upon to stabilize ballhandling and playmaking duties while Fajarito will be tasked to team up with JR Ongteco to form a lean but lengthy frontline.

Talking about the former Baby Tamaraws, Velasco said, “We have JJ Domingo na nagpakita talaga nung preseason and we hope na umangat nang umangat yung laro. Then our top recruit, Christian Fajarito, although we’re still waiting na lumabas yung tunay na laro, has all the potential.”

CSB starts their NCAA Season 91 campaign against Letran on June 30 at the San Juan Arena. The game will be broadcast LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23 at 4:00 PM and will also be streamed LIVE on ABS-CBN Sports.com.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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