By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
There will be a new anchor in the paint for the College of Saint Benilde Blazers.
Welcome to the Blazers lair, big man Shawn Umali.
The development was announced last February 5, 2024, after the CSB management confirmed Umali’s arrival following his decision to part ways with the Lyceum Pirates after three years.
IJmali’s addition came at the right time for the Blazers as their star power forward Will Gozum already played out his final eligible year in the NCAA.
The savvy and post-oriented center broke out during the NCAA Season 99 after leading the Pirates to the Final Four of the men’s basketball tournament.
However, Umali and the Pirates wasted a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four and lost to the San Beda Red Lions led by Jacob Cortez and James Payosing.
Before departing Lyceum, Umali averaged 11 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per contest last Season 99.
Umali will still follow the tournament ruling for transferees and will be available for the Blazers when the NCAA Season 101 kicks off next year.
Once Umali dons the green and white uniform of the Blazers, he will be forming a dominant frontcourt duo together with Allen Liwag who will be eligible to play for CSB this upcoming NCAA Season 100.
Liwag, who was also a transferee from Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), committed to CSB last January 2023 but failed to suit up last season due to residency.
Running the show for the Blazers is still head coach Charles Tiu who is aiming for redemption after CSB failed to repeat its grand finals qualification last NCAA Season 99.