CEBU CITY – University of Visayas will be revisiting the same ploy that worked against University of San Carlos as the Green Lancers eye to bounce back and even the 15th Cesafi men’s basketball finals against the Warriors.
UV coach Gary Cortes said how imperative Cameroonian reinforcement Steve Akomo to stay in the game for the Lancers to have a shot of getting back in the best-of-five title series.
Akomo was left helpless in Game One after committing his fourth foul with 6:25 left in the third period. In his absence, USC’s Shooster Olago suddenly broke free and led the Warriors’ attack on both ends of the floor en route to a 76-70 win in Game One.
“We have to let Steve (Akomo) be the last line of defense,” shared Cortes, putting the onus now on his other big men to try and slow down the high-scoring Olago, who finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in the series opener.
Cortes recalled how Olago got flustered by the fluid Green Lancers’ defense in the team’s 74-43 blowout of the same Warriors team during their second round match in the eliminations. The USC stalwart was held to just 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field.
The UV coach is likewise concerned about the health of point guard Alfred Codilla and former Batang Gilas Leonard Santillan.
Codilla went scoreless in Game 1 after getting hampered by fever, while Santillan failed to suit up after rolling his ankle during a defensive drill in practice on Friday.
“We’ll see if he (Santillan) can practice this afternoon,” said Cortes in a conversation with Spin.ph on Monday morning.
Meanwhile, USC counterpart Britt Reroma is pleased having gained the initial momentum in the series, although that should not let the Warriors put their guards down heading in Game Two set on Tuesday.
Reroma hinted about getting more guys involved on offense to help out Olago.
“Shooster (Olago) will always be there. So we need to see to it that more of our reliable guys step up like (Ian) Tagapan, (Victor) Rabat, and even Kiefer Lim,” shared the former San Beda stalwart.
The former champion coach of the Red Cubs also made mention of the need to contain UV’s wily guard in Jun Kent Manzo, who scored at will against all his USC defenders, including Olago, who he put on skates with a gorgeous in-and-out dribble in the lane before going all the way for a scoop lay-up.
Manzo finished with 21 points before sitting out late in the game due to leg cramps.
“We need to find a way to contain Jun Manzo. He’s a really good scorer,” added Reroma.