USPF tries to stay perfect, takes on ‘championship-caliber’ USJ-R

By JONAS PANERIO |September 10,2018 - 09:58 PM

The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars will try to stain the immaculate start of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers as the two teams clash today in the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament at the Cebu Coliseum.

The marquee match-up is at 6:30 p.m. following the curtain-raiser between the reigning champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers (1-2) and the resilient University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors (2-2).

For USJ-R head coach Leode Garcia, the key to attaining success against a USPF squad that thrives in creating transition opportunities through its frenetic defense, is to dictate the pace themselves.

“We must not allow them to set the tempo of the game. That’s where they usually get the upper hand, through their hustle defense. We need to keep our minds sharp from start to finish and hopefully, that will give us the advantage,” said Garcia, who is in his first year at the helm following the departure of veteran mentor Jun Noel.

The Jaguars, who have a 2-1 (win-loss) slate, are coming off an easy 90-69 win over the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildcats. But Garcia cautioned his wards to keep their guard and protect against complacency.

“I hope they keep the same mindset so that basketball can be easier. We’re ready for the game. We are taking it one game at a time,” Garcia added.

On the other side, Panthers (3-0) head coach Brian Jereza considers USJ-R to be a “championship caliber” team, making this challenge a formidable one.

“I think we should minimize our turnovers and make our free throws and play intelligent basketball to win against a champion caliber USJR team,” said Jereza, who like his USJ-R counterpart, is coaching for the very first time in the Cesafi.

The match-up in the middle is set to be an intriguing one between two African powerhouses in USJ-R’s man-mountain Segamars Ewenike and USPF’s Rich Managor.

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