It was a long road to the top for SWU-Phinma
Cebu City, Philippines—While many fans and supporters celebrated the end result of Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma’s campaign in the 2019 Cesafi Partner’s Cup, what many did not bear witness to was the long and arduous process that head coach Mike Reyes and the rest of the Cobras went through to get to where they are now.
“It was a long process,” said Reyes, who utilized an offense similar to what his vaunted University of San Carlos (USC) teams employed back in 2006 and 2007, seasons wherein the Warriors battled for the Cesafi crown against the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers.
“It is easier to score if the defense will keep moving from north to south and east to west. Kung maalala mo, ganun din USC namin dati,” said Reyes.
(If you remember, that was how it was with USC before.)
The Cobras’ ace guard Shaquille Imperial admitted that the road to embracing Reyes’ egalitarian offense was not one that was lined with roses.
“It was quite a challenge for sure, because he wanted us to give our very best knowing we were up against one of the best teams in the league. The pressure was certainly there in all of us,” said Imperial, who has embraced the role as the local top gun of this veteran-laden squad.
Reyes said their Partner’s Cup victory would go a long way towards building their confidence in time for the Cesafi regular season.
“It’s a real confidence-builder. Any team can win if you shoot well. But last night, we found a way to win even if we did not shoot well. That means a lot to me,” quipped Reyes.
One ace that the Cobras have up their sleeves is Lamine Thiam, the team’s prized student-athlete from Senegal, who started off slow in the preseason before finally exerting himself to become the Partner’s Cup’s Most Valuable Player.
“He definitely is a valuable player as exerted as much effort as the other players to help lead the team all throughout the preseason and acquire victory with us,” Imperial said of their Senegalese teammate. /bmjo
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