AFTER staying in Manila for more than a month, the Southwestern University Cobras can't wait to return to Cebu, and understandably so.
“Ma-traffic tsaka magastos dito,” said SWU assistant coach Mike Reyes before breaking into a laugh.
As far as their basketball is concerned, the Cobras also can’t wait to apply what they've learned from their games against UAAP and NCAA teams in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup preseason tournament.
“Even before (our final game), generally, our assessment was that this will help in our Cesafi (Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc.) campaign,” Reyes said.
For the first time this season, a provincial team competed in the Filoil preseason tournament in SWU, the reigning Cesafi champion.
After struggling in the early part of their campaign, the Cobras had a rousing finish, pulling off a huge 64-63 victory over University of Santo Tomas for their third win in eight games.
“They (Manila teams) are much stronger, maybe because of the trainers they have here. But they are just playing it physical, not dirty. That’s one of the main things that we learned here. Our players will have to take their weights seriously,” Reyes said.
The SWU coach also noted their improved play on defense helped the Cobras in pulling through with the upset victory over the Tigers, the reigning Philippine Collegiate Champions League title holders.
“We have had a tremendous improvement on defense and on communication. Like anything, kung hindi nag-co-communicate, hindi nagkakaintindihan. It was a big improvement for us. Makakatulong ito sa confidence namin,” said Reyes, brother of Gilas Pilipinas national coach Chot Reyes.
Cameroonian center Landry Sanjo, who was the Cobras’ top man in the middle, agreed.
“Tournament here is more advanced than Cebu. We are playing great because of the experience,” said Sanjo.