CEBU CITY — Already with 10 championships including an amazing championship run from 2001 to 2009, University of the Visayas remains title hungry having last tasted victory in 2012.
University of San Carlos, on the other hand, is looking to finally claim its first title.
The Green Lancers and Warriors battle one last time this season in the deciding Game Five of the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball finals on Tuesday at the Cebu Coliseum.
After a horrendous season last year that saw in-fighting both among players and coaches, UV has turned its boat around and is a win away from sweet redemption.
“We survived all the trials from last year to this season, from the elimination round, semis and all the way here in the finals. We’re here now in the last and final scheduled game. This is the chance given to us, and we must play like no tomorrow,” said UV head coach Gary Cortes.
USC is also eyeing redemption after losing badly in the Game Five last year’s finals to Southwestern University.
Warriors head coach Britt Reroma continues to plead with his team to exhibit mental toughness, now more than ever.
“It’s all about mental toughness. Whoever wants it more will win this series,” said Reroma of his team that seemingly self-destructed in the final 20 minutes of Game Four. Holding a 30-22 lead at halftime and a 44-41 lead at the end of the third, USC failed to hang on, forcing shots and committing horrendous fouls that paved the way for a 62-70 loss, that evened the best-of-five series.
Even more disconcerting for USC was that prized center Shooster Olago committed four fouls and was a non-factor, finishing with just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.
“We must preserve Shooster’s (Olago) fouls. And more over, we need to execute because in the second half of Game Four, nag-kanya-kanya name,” added Reroma, former coach of the San Beda Red Cubs.
But while Reroma is concerned with his team finishing strong, Cortes is wary of his team’s start.
“That Game Four start, that was our worst ever. We can’t afford to have that in Game Five. All we ask of them (Green Lancers) is to play their game, their normal roles and play as a team on both ends of the floor,” said Cortes.