Despite losing key players, USJ-R vows to ‘play to win’ in upcoming Cesafi season

By: Jonas Rey N. Panerio May 22,2019 - 01:05 PM

USJ-R coach Leode Garcia (eighth from right) joins his team in receiving the runner-up trophy of the 2018 Cesafi men’s basketball tournament. | CDN File photo

Cebu City, Philippines—With the brand new season of the Cesafi just a few months away, University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars head coach Leode Garcia insists he and the rest of his team will not make losing several key players an excuse to not do well.

The Jaguars, runners-up in last year’s Cesafi men’s basketball tournament, are heading to the new season without the likes of former MVP Jaybie Mantilla, former Mythical Five member RJ Dinolan, Nigerian big man Segamars Ewenike and reliable forwards Nichole Ubalde and Fletcher Galvez.

Read more: For USJ-R coach Leode Garcia, his team has nothing to be ashamed of

However, that is not stopping Garcia from imposing a winning mindset on his team.

“If we are going to play, we are going to play to win. We have lost a lot of players but that’s not an excuse. Other teams have lost key players as well,” said the former Cebu Gems forward.

“I always tell the players, if you’re going to play, that’s because you are an asset and not a liability,” added Garcia, who will now lean on veteran wingmen Miguel Gastador and Tricky Peromingan to carry the Jaguars’ campaign.

Peromingan, for one, is up to the challenge as he has utmost belief in his teammates to do their job.

“I don’t find it hard leading our team. Yes, most of them are young players who just graduated form high school but when given minutes, they’re able to contribute. It’s easy for me to lead this team since we all help each other and respect one another,” said the sweet-shooting wingman.

For now, Garcia is set to use the upcoming Partners Cup as a measuring stick for every single member of the squad.

Read more: 2019 Cesafi Partner’s Cup to start June 1

“They’re all adjusting to the system. We’ll see how they perform during the Partners Cup.” 

The Partner’s Cup begins on June 1. /bmjo

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TAGS: 2019 cesafi, basketball, Leode Garcia, miguel gastador, USJ-R Jaguars

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