By: Jonas Rey N. Panerio October 15,2018 - 10:08 PM

USC coach Bong Abad huddles his players during practice before the start of the season.

Unbeknownst to many, the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors have had a hellish season in the Cesafi men’s basketball tournament.

Still, the Warriors find themselves with the opportunity to knock off the top seeded University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars in the Final Four this Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum.

The Warriors finished with a 5-7 (win-loss) record, beating out the University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers for the fourth spot and the last ticket to the semifinal round that came with it.

But there’s certainly more to the team than what their win-loss record says.

“Throughout this season, we have encountered a lot of problems: players leaving, injuries, chemistry issues, internal conflicts with management,” said team skipper Lucky Ecarma. “But I can say that this team was resilient enough to overcome those challenges and still secure a spot in the semis this season. It wasn’t easy but we made it happen.”

After starting off with a full roster, a number of players exited over the course of the elimination round, notably reliable big man Kent Cabanog, who returned home to Davao, and reserve guard, John Aranas.

USC head coach Bong Abad credited his players’ incredible resilience as the reason for their turnaround.

“It’s all about team effort and the will to win,” said the former San Miguel Beerman.

The task that lies before USC, however, is a daunting one as they must beat USJ-R twice in order to move on to the best-of-three championship round.

“Focus and intensity will be the key. USJ-R is a team that loves to run on the break and they play with a high energy and we have to be focused on containing their wings and match their intensity,” said Ecarma on the things that they have to be wary of come Saturday.

Abad, on the other hand, said that maximum effort and concentration are what the Warriors need to pull off the upset.

“100 percent effort and execution,” Abad stated of his team’s keys to winning.

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TAGS: Ready, resilient, S’FINALS, Warriors

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