MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle-College of St. Benilde (CSB) head coach TY Tang wants to see more consistency from the Blazers after they nearly squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter in their tight win over Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) on Tuesday.
In their first game of the NCAA Season 95 tournament, CSB appeared to be on their way to an easy win after leading 65-48 with 7:13 to play. But the Generals went on a blistering 17-2 run, allowing them to come as close as two points, 65-67, with 2:16 left.
Fortunately for the Blazers, two free throws by Jimboy Pasturan in the final 8.4 seconds proved enough to hold off the Generals.
"They held us down with their zone defense. And we just couldn't execute, and couldn't find a way to get the ball in the hoop. Probably, it's not about preparation eh, because I think we prepared for that," Tang said of their poor execution in the final quarter.
He chalked up their near-collapse to first-game jitters, but also acknowledged that "egos were involved" in the game.
"Instead of playing as a team, our individual talents tried to overcome the game," he explained.
Tang kept reminding his team to settle down while EAC was going on its run, but the Blazers were unable to do so.
"We were being so rapid in all our movements and wanting to keep the lead. But instead of keeping the lead just because of our eagerness to score, it went the other way around, nag-fire back sa amin," said Tang.
"Again, it's sustaining our lead, and being able to be consistent both on offense and defense. It's basketball, it's a two-way game," he added.
The good news for Tang and the Blazers is that this was just their first game, and there is plenty of room for the team to grow. Moreover, they hacked out the win despite playing without the injured Clement Leutche and Yankie Haruna, two veteran players who should provide a stabilizing presence to CSB upon their return.
"Hopefully, we learn from it, and we get better by the day throughout this season," said Tang.
They will be immediately tested next week, when they take on a new-look University of Perpetual Help team.
"The good thing about playing our second game is we have a week of preparation to that game. So hopefully we can settle in, our first game's over, continue on with our practices and readiness towards games. I feel also that the first game is very important because it really dictates the momentum going into this season," said Tang.
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