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NCAA Preview: Intact, confident CSB Blazers determined to end Final Four drought

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Published August 31, 2022 2:25pm

Updated August 31, 2022 2:25pm

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Key loss: AJ Benson
Key holdovers: Will Gozum, Robi Nayve, JC Cullar
Season 97 record: 5-4 (elimination round), reached play-in stage

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde came close to ending the school’s Final Four drought in the previous NCAA Season 97, but a new league rule, the play-in round, ultimately forced the team to miss the semis bus.

The Blazers actually finished fourth in the elimination round with a 5-4 slate but had to face San Beda University in the play-in, where they lost and arranged a second play-in clash, this time with University of Perpetual Help System DALTA.

The Altas then emerged victorious, sending host CSB packing as Perpetual completed the Final Four cast alongside Letran, Mapua, and San Beda.

This Season 98, with a lot of confidence and a nearly-intact roster, the wards of CSB head coach Charles Tiu are looking to finally put an end to a string of heartbreaks.

“Actually, mindset namin this season is still the same,” said Robi Nayve, one of the gunners of this CSB side, told GMA News Online.

“Siguro this coming season, we just have to have that mentality of being consistent lalo na with (team captain) JC (Cullar) being hard on us every day. Everyday, he’s reminding us to be consistent in everything we can do.”

From its line-up in Season 97, only one player left the Taft crew with Filipino-American AJ Benson exhausting his one-and-done eligibility.

Mythical Five member Will Gozum is tipped to remain a huge presence in the paint while gunners Nayve, Prince Carlos, and team captain Cullar are expected to be threats offensively.

CSB is also welcoming star transferee Migs Oczon, who posted averages of 11.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks during the 2022 FilOil Preseason Cup, where they reached the quarterfinals stage.

“Confident talaga ako this season that we’ll be able to push through with our goals,” added Nayve.

—JMB, GMA News

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