UV ready for National Collegiate Championship finals showdown with Ateneo
Cebu City, Philippines – The three-time defending Cesafi champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers aim for history as they vie to become the very first team outside of Manila to win the 2018 National Collegiate Championship Presidents Cup when they tangle with the UAAP titlist Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in a winner-take-all finals on Monday, January 28, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Blue Eagles made their way to the finals after beating the NCAA champions, San Beda Red Lions, 62-56, in their semifinals rubbermatch on Saturday to win the best-of-three series, 2-1.
The Green Lancers, on the other hand, have been sitting in the finals for a while now, after winning the regional crown with a 2-0 series win over Naga College Foundation in December.
UV, the most successful collegiate basketball team in the south, has since been preparing for the PCCL finale, with head coach Gary Cortes declaring that the team is in good shape and ready to play their best against the UAAP powerhouse.
“Playing against Ateneo for the PCCL final is a tough battle. We are excited, physically prepared and in good shape. As what I told the boys, this is a great opportunity to play in the finals, so it’s really now or never,” said Cortes.
This PCCL finals rematch has been 10 years in the making.
The last time Ateneo and UV met in the finals was back in 2007 when the Blue Eagles, led by Rabeh Al-Hussaini, took down Greg Slaughter and the rest of the Green Lancers, 71-54.
Two-time Cesafi MVP Rey Suerte, who is playing in his very last game for the Green Lancers before moving on to the PBA D-League, shared that the team needs to really buckle down on both ends of the floor if they are to pull off the upset against the team that is being led by Thirdy Ravena and Angelo Kouame.
“Double time lang always kay systemado kaayo ang kontra,” said the 6-foot-3 wingman.
UV’s backcourt will also be getting a boost with the return of point guard Sheldon Gahi, who missed all of last season because of a broken foot.
“I’m happy and thankful to play again. As of now, di pajud ko 100 percent pero paningkamotan nako para makatabang sa team,” said the fiery guard. /bjo
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