CEBU CITY - A familiar face awaits the University of San Carlos Warriors when they kick off festivities in the 2015 Cebu City Mayor’s Cup international basketball tournament on Friday at the Cebu City Sports Institute here.
Stephen Que makes his return to the Queen City of the South as part of the Mapua Cardinals team that will play the Warriors on opening day.
Que, a Filipino-American, suited up for the Warriors from 2011 to 2013 before deciding to test the waters in Manila and ended up with the Cardinals of PBA great Atoy Co.
After serving the one-year residency period, Que now gets the chance to suit up for the Cardinals. And that he’ll be up against his former team in his first game in a Mapua uniform is the irony of it all.
“It definitely feels weird suiting up against them (Warriors) since I’ve had so many memories and battles with USC. They were the ones who took care of me my first two years in the Philippines when I knew nothing,” he said.
“I’ll always have much respect for that whole organization and hope nothing but success for them in the future. Well except for this Friday when we play them,” Que added with a hearty laugh.
The tournament also features the Malaysian national squad that recently placed runner-up in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship, and the University of Cebu Webmasters.
All eyes however, will be on Que and how he’ll blend with the Cardinals, who have been in a rebuilding mode the past two seasons under Co.
“Mapua hasn’t really been good these last few years. But this year is our host year and we need to make a statement. We have the talent and pieces to do it, we just need to perform,” Que said.
The return of wingman Josan Nimes, the NCAA Rookie of the Year in 2011, from a back injury is indeed, a welcome development for the Cardinals.
“Yes Josan (Nimes) is finally back with the team and healthy. We will surely need him this year to help us reach our goals. He’s a great player,” shared Que