These CSB Blazers are raring to live up to their name

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 19, 2017 10:58 AM
These CSB Blazers are raring to live up to their name

College of St. Benilde wants us to believe – that the Blazers right now are not the same Blazers from last year.

“We’re fast-paced now. Basically, we just run and gun,” veteran Yankie Haruna said. “When we get the ball, we just keep moving forward. We never slow the pace down.”

All of this is in stark contrast to the identity-lacking side which just narrowly avoided a winless season in 2016.

Then, CSB, as a team, averaged just 57.8 points on 34.8 percent shooting from the field.

In the end, they only had one win to show through 18 games – the worst finish in the history of the country’s oldest collegiate league.

So yes, these Blazers now guided by rookie head coach TY Tang want something different – they actually want to be blazing all the time they are on the court.

That much was evident in their last assignment in the preseason a week ago which saw them pour in 88 points.

Almost a quarter of the Taft-based team’s output was courtesy of rookie Mathew Johnson who dropped 21 points all from triples. “We’re all hoping he can sustain that all the way towards the NCAA. Actually, we have been looking for that for the longest time,” Tang said after that game which they lost, 88-104.

Still, there was definitely a bright spot in the defeat as the new mentor continued, “It hasn’t been there for Matthew, but it was evident today that he can shoot the ball.”

Blazing on the court before sending the ball blazing through the nets – that is apparently CSB’s newfound mantra.

It’s not just Johnson whom Tang expects to bust out, however.

In fact, he wants each and every one of his players to have those kinds of games. “We want to give equal opportunity for everyone. Our offense is free-flowing – even our bigs can shoot threes as long as they practice it,” he shared.

He then continued, “We’re really focusing on challenging them to step up their game. If one person in our team steps up with one percent, that’s already about 18 percent if we have 18 players. That’s what we’re trying to build.”

However, Haruna was also quick to step on the breaks of expecting too much from them too soon. “In the beginning, all this was kind of a shock to us. Now, we’re used to it and it’s just about working on it,” he said.

He then continued, “But so far, we’re still a work in progress. New coach, new system.”


Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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