If not for the play-in round, College of St. Benilde could have ended a 20-year Final Four drought and will still be able to contend for the crown which it last won way back in 2000.

The Blazers finished at the fourth spot of the standings with a 5-4 record at the end of the eliminations but stumbled out of contention after suffering two consecutive losses in the play-in.

Head coach Charles Tiu is offering no excuses after coming up short in his first year at the helm.

Photo from GMA NCAA

“Nung start ng season tinatanong ako kung gusto ko ‘tong play-in, sabi ko ‘let’s see’. Ngayon, ayoko na ng play-in. Mahirap talaga,” Tiu said in jest.

Turning serious though, Tiu said the team just really struggled to find the mark during the play-in. It also didn’t help that some of key players are also nursing injury which really affected their playoff run.

“We struggled, first we lost to San Beda and they’re really a good team naman [but] unfortunately, we had to fall into this play-in and nagkataon na we’re without one of our key players, si AJ Benson. And then right before the game, si Prince Carlos tells me he can’t go [because] he couldn’t move his neck pero bigla nung halftime, gusto niya ulit maglaro,” shared the first year coach.

“No excuses, we’ve been doing a good job but we couldn’t make shots at the end of the day. We couldn’t make shots, were missing wide open layups, wide open threes and that’s tough so we just have to get better I guess in those aspects but yes, I’m very disappointed with the way how this season ended,” he added.

The Blazers dropped the first round of the play-in to the San Beda Red Lions, 59-52. They were then visibly outplayed by the Perpetual Altas, 76-64 – a game that Tiu believed they had a good chance of winning if not for their offensive struggles and rebounding woes.

Top guns in Will Gozum and Robi Nayve were limited to 13 and eight points respectively while on the Perpetual side which was without main man Kim Aurin, five players scored in twin digits.

Nonetheless, Tiu is looking at the season as a learning experience as he hopes to find that last push his team needed to finally end the title dry spell for the Blazers.

“It’s also a learning experience for me, I have to do a better job also and hopefully with more time to prepare with this team we can still improve,” said Tiu.

“I fell short of my personal goal but at least if it weren’t for this play-in we could say we got to Final Four, but I want to end this drought of CSB like this 22-year, I’m hoping we can achieve that this year or the next season already.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2022/05/06/coach-charles-offers-no-excuses-as-blazers-stumble-in-play-in/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coach-charles-offers-no-excuses-as-blazers-stumble-in-play-in)