CEBU CITY – Although the feat came almost a decade ago, former University of Cebu star Roger Pogoy remembers the moment like it was yesterday.
“We had a really great team. In spite of the amount of talent that we had, we still had roles to play under the system coach Reggie (Licanda) had,” shared Pogoy, now a star at Far Eastern University, of the UC Baby Webmasters team that won the 2008 Cesafi juniors championship.
The recollection of that last UC juniors team that won the title came to the fore after the Baby Webmasters defied the odds and stunned highly-favored Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu in Game One of their best-of-three title series on Tuesday night at the Cebu Coliseum.
The Baby Webmasters could pull off the mother of all upsets in the tournament with another win in Game Two set Thursday.
And Pogoy hopes the success his team had eight years ago will serve as inspiration to the new UC generation.
The 2008 title-winning UC team was indeed, teeming with talent. Aside from Pogoy, also in the lineup then were former FEU guard stalwart Marty Pearce, then adjudged as the tournament MVP, and current University of the Visayas All-Star guard Alfred Codilla.
Despite its depth, UC found a perfect counterpart in UV, which was bannered back then by current seniors forward Arvie Cabanero and now Southwestern University wingman Janjan Auditor.
“They were a really great team that followed a great system. Malakas yung depensa sa aming key players. Then they really rotated the ball well which meant that it wasn’t just (Roger) Pogoy and (Marty) Pearce who were doing damage, but also (Alfred) Codilla and (Christian) Taboada,” shared Auditor of that memorable series.
The deciding Game Five was not really a pleasant one for Auditor as he was held down to just six points in UC’s 104-96 title-clinching win.
“Ang hirap nung Game Five. I remember Marty was having an off game so I had to play point guard at times. Arvie (Cabanero) was unstoppable in that game (41 points), but fortunately, our defense held down Janjan (Auditor) to help us get the win,” reminisced Pogoy of that fateful match which saw him win Finals MVP honors after pumping 21 points in the series-clincher.
The 2008 team has drawn parallels to this year’s batch of Baby Webmasters owing to the team's discipline and toughness.
Although he can’t be at the venue to watch his younger counterparts give their all, Pogoy said he will be supporting the team in spirit.
“Huwag lang sila mag-kumpyansa. And dapat makinig palagi sa instructions ni coach. Work hard, play hard, and hopefully, they’ll get the win and the title,” said Pogoy.