Magis Eagles coach expects tougher semifinals for his team
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Magis Eagles coach Rommel Rasmo expects a different kind of war for his boys in the semifinals of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (Cesafi) Season 23 high school basketball tournament on December 7, 2023.
The Magis Eagles finished the elimination round as the No. 2 seed with a twice-to-beat advantage and will face the No. 3 team, the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue (UCLM) Webmasters in the crossover semifinals.
Despite the advantage, Rasmo warned his players that this season is completely different from their campaign last year where they won the title against newcomers, City of Bogo Science and Arts Academy (CBSAA) Trailblazers in dominating fashion.
This season, the Magis Eagles opened their title retention bid with a humiliating loss to the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Baby Jaguars, 33-58. They also lost to the Cebu Eastern College (CEC) Dragons this month in the eliminations, 61-71.
The Magis Eagles finished with an 8-2 record to place second in the team standings, thanks to the Baby Jaguars beating the erstwhile league leader, UCLM.
By virtue of Cesafi’s winner-over-the-other tiebreaker rule, the Magis Eagles earned the second spot after they beat UCLM in the elimination round.
“This will be a different semifinal compared to last year because any team can beat anyone. All teams have losses, nobody is undefeated. So, we expect a tough semifinals,” Rasmo told CDN Digital.
“I told my players to move and forget our record in the elimination round. Everything restarts in the semifinals. We have to focus and move on. Let’s make sure we have to keep improving.”
The Magis Eagles mentor added that despite the string of losses their team endured, they remained focused on becoming better.
“We believed we could have done better from our defeats. After that loss to CEC, during our practice, I let them understand that we are responsible for the game’s outcome. No disrespect to the opposing team, it was on us. I believe that as long as we execute and give our effort, I’m sure it would have been a different story,” added Rasmo.
“So, I told them in our last game, just make sure it will be a different story. Let’s finish this on a high note going into the semis. We need our old winning form back and I’m happy that we won. I could say we could’ve done better in our win, but at least it’s already there.”
Rasmo added that besides their usual practice, he and the rest of the Magis Eagles team had a team-building activity.
After this season, five of Rasmo’s players – reigning finals MVP Jared Bahay, Josh Go, Rezald Dacalos, Xeemon Cuyos, and Nikolas Yu will be graduating.
The most notable graduate in the Magis Eagles camp is Jared Bahay, the No. 1 high school player in the country who committed to the UP Fighting Maroons in the UAAP.
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