Garcia’s coaching style is working wonders for finals-bound USJ-R

By: Jonas Rey N. Panerio October 23,2018 - 10:17 PM

Coach Leodi Garcia huddles his players during one of the practice sessions of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars. Garcia and his team are in a roll this season, making it to the finals for the first time since 2008. CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

IF ANYONE told University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) head coach Leode Garcia that the Jaguars would be making the Cesafi men’s basketball finals in his first season at the helm, he wouldn’t have believed it.

And yet, here they are, pitted against a University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers squad that is chasing its third straight title.

“This is all so unexpected,” said Garcia, the 47-year old who took over the team shortly before the Cesafi season started after previous head coach Titing Manalili decided to coach the Cebu City Sharks at the MPBL.

The Jaguars finished the top team after the eliminations and finished off the University of San Carlos (USC) in the semis to make it back to the finals for the first time since 2008.

How did the Jaguars do it? Garcia had a simple plan which his players followed to a tee.

“As what I have told the players at the start of the season, we shouldn’t think of the finals just yet so that we wouldn’t pressure ourselves too much.

That’s all I told them, that we should take it a game at a time,” said Garcia, a wide-bodied workhorse of a forward who was part of a grandslam-winning Stag Pale Pilseners squad in the defunct Philippines Basketball League under head coach Alfrancis Chua.

Garcia actually started coaching with USJ-R’s grassroots squads before making his way up the ranks with his democratic coaching style.

“I’m more open minded when it comes to coaching. I am not the type that wants the players to do exactly what I want them to. I don’t want them playing like robots. I really placed an emphasis on our relationship with one another. I want them to love and respect one another as much as I do them,” Garcia added.

Safe to say, Garcia’s rookie season at the helm has been nothing short of a hit as he led the Jaguars to the top seed for the first time in school history.

He credited Manalili for helping mold his coaching philosophy.

“Coach Titing has been very influential to me. I like how he handled the tea, simple yet effective. I also have to give credit to my former coaches such as Jun Noel, Yayoy Alcoseba, Jake Roxas, Tonichi Yturri,” said Garcia.

Game One of the best-of-three finals in the men’s basketball tournament is on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum. Game time is at 6:30 p.m.

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TAGS: bound, coaching, Finals, style, USJ-R, Working

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