EXCITED PLAYERS: Local collegiate cagers eager to play against PBA teams in Recoletos Cup
Several of Cebu’s finest collegiate basketball players seek to learn as much as they possibly could from their hardcourt idols when the Cebu Landmasters and the reigning Cesafi champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers take the court against the NLEX Road Warriors and the Meralco Bolts in the Recoletos Invitational Cup today at the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) gym in Basak, Cebu City.
The excitement was palpable in the voices of the young guns that Cebu Daily News talked to as they prepared to put forth their best in what they consider to be a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Some even admitted to not getting enough sleep as they counted the days to tip off.
“I feel mixed emotions. I feel excited and nervous at the same time. Playing against these two great PBA teams is such a big opportunity and privilege not just for me but for my whole team because I know we can learn a lot from them,” said USJ-R’s high-leaping wingman Miguel Gastador, who, along with several other Jaguars and University of Southern Philippines Foundation players, make up the Landmasters roster.
USJ-R’s lead guard, Jaybie Mantilla, a member of the Cesafi’s Mythical Five, said he remains awestruck at the opportunity to play the likes of NLEX’s Asi Taulava and fellow southern products Carlo Lastimosa and Garvo Lanete.
“I really can’t imagine myself playing with them because I never expected to be one day standing in front of them. Those PBA players are my idols. I only see them in TV and now I’ll be able to play against them,” said Mantilla.
Former Far Eastern University (FEU) Baby Tamaraw Tricky Peromingan, on the other hand, mentioned that he was looking forward to going toe-to-toe with NLEX guard Kevin Alas, a player he has admired since the latter’s playing days in Letran.
“I’m really excited for tomorrow’s (today’s) game because I’ll be able to go up against Kevin Alas. All basketball players dream of playing against PBA players but not all are given the chance.”
The Jaguars’ top forward RJ Dinolan, however, refused to be starstruck by the big names he will be lined up against and instead chose to put up a brave front in time for the battle that lies ahead.
“There is nothing to be afraid of. We all have pairs of hands and feet. We’ll try our best to keep up with them,” Dinolan quipped.
UV head coach Gary Cortes said that this tournament offers the players a great chance to gauge themselves against professional players.
“Playing against PBA teams is a great opportunity for all the players and the Lancers to gauge and see how near or far they are from their goals and to determine the things that they need to improve on in order to reach that level. It’s a morale-booster to be chosen to play in this tournament and the experience that we will get from this will be valuable,” said the hard-nosed mentor.
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