Cesafi 2019 preview

Despite roster filled with young players, USJ-R coach believes team has potential 

By: Jonas Rey N. Panerio August 28,2019 - 02:56 PM

Cesafi preview: USJ-R Jaguars

WATCH: Three days more to opening day!! Know more about last year’s runner up, the USJ-R Jaguars. #CDNDigital #Cesafi2019

CDN Digital 发布于 2019年8月27日周二

Cebu City, Philippines—The University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars may have a squad chock-full of brand new players but head coach Leode Garcia guarantees they will still exhibit the same kind of ferocious effort that carried them all the way to the Cesafi men’s basketball finals last year.

Whether this would be enough remains to be seen as the brand new season of the Cesafi kicks off on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at the Cebu Coliseum.

Read: Expect ‘different’ CIT-U team in this year’s Cesafi

The Jaguars made a fairy-tale run to the finals last season that put an end to a decade-long finals drought. 

With one-time MVP Jaybie Mantilla, Nichole John Ubalde, RJ Dinolan and Miguel Gastador carrying the load, the Jaguars fell short of the championship against the University of the Visayas Green Lancers.

Now, Garcia and the Jaguars are prepared to run it all back with a team filled short on veterans and loaded with neophytes.

Read: Will this be the year of the Panthers?

“Even though all the players are young, we are well prepared. During the practices, we recognize their potential, which will help us achieve something this season. Hopefully, what we have been doing in practices, our players will be able to respond to during the actual games,” said Garcia.

With the core of the last season’s team already gone, left to lead the squad is high-flying wingman Miguel Gastador, who has been given the lofty responsibility of being team captain.

Read: New-look UC Webmasters hungry for men’s basketball crown

“This team is a very young team and some of us are rookies but I am pushing them to work harder so that we can compete with the other high-caliber teams,” said Gastador.

Fortunately for USJ-R, the team has several exciting players in super sophomore Elmer Echavez and Renz Solomon, an experienced point guard who was recruited from Bacolod City.

Read: Surprise favorites: SWU-Phinma ready for Cesafi challenge

USJ-R assistant coach Armand Colina is also confident that their players have developed enough to give a good showing this season.

“I’m so happy that for the last five weeks, we’ve seen the players’ development. Of course, we can’t expect them to fully understand it all and get what the coaching staff wants but the USJ-R community has high expectations for this group,” Colina said. /bmjo

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TAGS: Armand Colina, Cesafi 2019, Cesafi preview, head coach, Jaguars, Leode Garcia, miguel gastador, USJ-R

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