Even though the title was won nearly a decade ago, former University of Cebu star Roger Ray Pogoy remembers the moment like it was yesterday. And as the Baby Webmasters head to battle for Game 2 of the best-of-three finals series needing just a win over the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu to reach the apex of Cesafi juniors basketball once more, Pogoy hopes that their feat back in 2008 would serve as an inspiration to their younger counterparts.
“We had a really great team. In spite of the amount of talent that we had, we still had roles to play in the system that coach Reggie (Licanda) had,” shared Pogoy, now a star at Far Eastern University in the UAAP.
That 2008 Cesafi-title winning squad was one teeming with talent with the likes of Pogoy, former FEU guard and that season’s MVP Marty Pearce, and current University of the Visayas all star guard Alfred Codilla manning the backcourt.
But in spite of their depth, UC found the perfect counterpart in UV who then was bannered by current UV forward Arvie Cabanero and Soutwestern University wingman Janjan Auditor.
“They were a really great team that followed a great system. Lig-on kaayo ila depensa sa among 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 fateful series which ended with UC taking the crown with a 104-96 win in the deciding Game 5.
“Lisud tong Game 5. I remember Marty was having an off game so I had to play point guard at times. Arvie (Cabanero) was unstoppable in that game but fortunately, our defense held down Janjan (Auditor) to help us get the win,” reminisced Pogoy of that fateful match that saw him take Finals MVP honors after pumping in 21 points in the series-clincher.
The 2008 team has drawn parallels to this year’s finals-making squad with their discipline and obedience.
And as the Baby Webmasters get set to take the floor once again in the hopes of replicating their Game 1 performance, Pogoy said that though he is miles away from the squad, he will be there in spirit, cheering his younger counterparts on.
“Dili lang jud sila mag-kumpyansa. And dapat maminaw jud kung unsay ingon sa coach. Work hard, play hard and hopefully, they’ll get the win and the title,” said Pogoy.