Blazers wingman has option to turn pro

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    WITH the NCAA 96th season uncertain and still without a coach, College of St. Benilde wingman Justin Gutang could opt to forgo his fifth and final year and instead join the PBA draft set January next year.

    If and when the Fil-Am standout decides to do so, his former coach, TY Tang, is convinced Gutang has what it takes.

    “It depends on who’s going in the draft,” Tang told Malaya-Business Insight.

    “But he (Gutang) is capable,” he added.

    Tang, along with the other Blazers coaches and staff of their varsity teams, were laid off last Aug. 31 due to the economic crunch inflicted by the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.

    The NCAA is eyeing to kick off its 96th season, set to be hosted by Letran, early next year but with the country’s pandemic woes having no end in sight, the fate of the new season is hanging in the air.

    Tang said he and Gutang have not talked about the latter’s plans.

    “I have not talked to him yet regarding it (applying for the PBA draft),” said Tang.

    The 6-foot-4 Gutang averaged 11.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in the last NCAA cage wars.

    The Blazers wound up with a 9-9 card, good for fifth last season.

    CSB lost 6-foot-7 Cameroonian big man Clement Leutcheu, guard Yankie Haruna, forward Edward Dixon, and guard Carlo Young due to graduation.

    The Taft-based crew last reached the Final Four in 2002 and is aching to end a 21-year title drought. The Blazers last won the crown in 2000 behind the likes of former pros Sunday Salvacion and Jondan Salvador, and Al Magpayo.