Green Lancers eye fourth straight title as Cesafi 2019 opens on Saturday

By: Jonas N. Panerio August 28,2019 - 05:56 PM

High school and college basketball coaches pose with Cesafi organizers and sponsors during the press conference on Wednesday afternoon, August 28. | Jonas Panerio

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers — the most successful team the league has ever seen with 13 collegiate titles on its mantle — is eyeing another championship in this year’s Cesafi men’s basketball tournament that will formally open on Saturday, August 31.

“We’re dreaming of that ‘four-peat.’ However, all the teams here are going out to compete and not just participate. As you saw in the preseason, a lot of games were won in the dying seconds,” said Gary Cortes, the man responsible for steering the Green Lancers to three straight titles.

But the UV head coach admitted that a a fourth win is something that they will have to work hard for.

“Sayun storyahon, lisud buhaton (It’s easier said than done.) ,” Cortes during the league’s launching press conference on Wednesday afternoon at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

With reigning league MVP Rey Anthony Suerte having moved on to the University of the East, the Green Lancers face a stiff challenge of having to fend off a host of challengers led by the Partner’s Cup champions, Southwestern University-Phinma Cobras, who are being led by prolific foreigner, Lamine Thiam.

SWU-Phinma head coach Mike Reyes has been in his players’ ears, constantly reminding them of the great challenge that lies ahead.

“I keep on reminding our team that it doesn’t follow that because we won the Partner’s Cup, that we are going to win the regular season,” said Reyes. “In all my 15 years of coaching in the Cesafi, this is the most balanced the league has ever been. On any given day, any given team can win against any other team. Wala nang game na sure win.”

Another perennial contender, the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters, who are being led by decorated head coach, Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, is still reeling after the loss of their prized recruit, Tristan Albina, who was deemed ineligible to play this season because of academic issues.

However, Alcoseba declared that they are more than just one player.

“Our team is not built for one player. That’s why it’s called a team. Without Albina we have to compete. Well find out on September 1,” said the multi-titled mentor.

Long-time league commissioner, Felix Tiukinhuy, beamed of this season’s innovative in-house coverage team called “Cesafi Live,” which is being comprised of 133 student volunteers from the different member schools.

“For the first time in the history of all the leagues all over the Philippines, a league will be covered by volunteer students from the different member schools,” said Tiukinhuy.

Aside from basketball, the Cesafi will have 15 other sporting events, 13 academic events and three demo events, which include e-sports. | dcb

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TAGS: Basketball Tournament, Cesafi 2019, Cobras, Gary Cortes, Green Lancers, Webmasters

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