DEFENDING champion Southwestern University and University of Visayas rekindle their fierce rivalry as they collide on Saturday in the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.
“This will be a dogfight from start to finish,” was the blunt assessment of SWU Cobras coach Raul 'Yayoy' Alcoseba. “Though the team is new and still developing chemistry, our mindset is still to go out and play every game with energy and intensity."
The solo lead in the standings and more importantly – school pride – are at stake in today’s game as the action is expected to be as fierce as it has ever been.
More than school pride, Alcoseba hopes that his team can focus on the task at hand, which is to secure the top seeding and gain some much-needed rest before the semifinal round.
“Our priority is to be the top seed so that we can get some rest. We are not just focusing on UV but other teams as well. But since SWU and UV are rivals, this game would be very interesting given the fact that UV is hungry and well-prepared,” said Alcoseba, also a provincial board member of Cebu.
But for UV, the spurned nine-time champions, the road to redemption must go through the Cobras’ pit especially after last season’s championship meltdown where the Green Lancers lost a huge 17-point lead with seven minutes remaining in the deciding Game Five.
The rebuilding process undertaken by head coach Felix Belano has taken the Lancers to the title in the Partner’s Cup preseason tournament. And the journey has brought the Lancers to this point – a precious chance at payback at their blue and orange-clad opponents.
“Our expectation is that it will be a hard game for forty minutes or even more,” Belano said. “We expect this to be a very tough game. Pero our mindset is still the same as with every other team in the Cesafi. We prepare and focus on the game plan like we do in every game.
“Pero siguro, there will be more intensity in this game given the rivalry between our team and theirs,” added the man credited for the only quadruple-double in the country’s professional basketball history.