MANILA, Philippines—College of Saint Benilde is off to its best start ever in the NCAA, as the Blazers have won its first four games in the Season 95 men's basketball tournament.
A come-from-behind 77-72 triumph over San Sebastian on Tuesday afternoon put the Blazers at 4-0, allowing them to tie defending champion San Beda atop the league standings.
It was the Blazers' most impressive win so far, as they were playing without injured star Justin Gutang and needed to recover from a 10-point halftime deficit to claim the victory.
Their biggest challenge comes on Friday, however, when they take on the unbeaten Red Lions who have been cruising to win after win so far in the tournament.
"I don't wanna talk about us being a fluke, or us being contenders," said Blazers coach TY Tang, when asked if the game against San Beda will be an "acid test" of sorts for his squad.
"Right now, we've learned our lesson from last season, and we just wanna go one game at a time."
Season 94 was heartbreaking for the Blazers, as they won seven of their first 10 assignments and appeared poised to make a run to the Final 4. But they won just three games the rest of the way, and wound up missing the semifinals by one game.
Thus, even though his team is off to another fine start this year, Tang wants to keep everything in perspective.
"It's basically a step at a time for us, and wherever it brings us after the season, that's where our journey ends," he said.
"But right now, again, we just wanna stay in the present and take a look at how we move on to the next game, from one to the other."
For now, this means that their focus is on the Red Lions, a team that is seeking a fourth consecutive championship this season.
The Blazers have only a couple of days to prepare for the match-up, and are unlikely to have Gutang available for the contest as well as he is still dealing with an injury to his left knee.
"We're playing the champion team but we don't really have much time to prepare, considering that we played a tough game today," said Tang.
"Again, we'll take it a game at a time, try to adjust for Friday's game. But we hope that we can play with the same intensity as how we played in the first 3 games. We don't wanna play how we started today's game."
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