Cobras: Pray for us

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Sunday, December 15, 2013


“PRAY for us. Pray for our win to Señor. Sto. Nino,” was Southwestern University Cobras’ head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba’s simple request to the Cebuano basketball fans who are following their exploits in the 2013 Philippine Collegiate Champions League in FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

The Cobras are trying to make history by becoming the first-ever non-Manila team to win the PCCL title. They will face the UAAP champions De La Salle University Green Archers in the best-of-3 finals series that will start at 4 p.m today.

Game 1 of the finals series will be aired live over Studio 23 following the Ilog Pasig Benefit Game between high school squads Hope Christian High School Soldiers and De La Salle University Green Hills Junior Archers at 2 p.m.

“We are appealing not just to the Cebuanos but to the people of the Visayas and Mindanao as well, whom we are representing. Our victory will also be their victory. We will do our best to win for them,” Alcoseba told Sun.Star Cebu.

Playing with nothing to lose, and everything to gain – the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) squad is playing with high morale as they shoot for the series opener victory.

Their unexpected entry to the finals had caught the league by surprise, including the league organizers who had to rebook their flight back home and arrange for their extended stay in Manila.

“Gibalhin mi og lugar. Gikan sa San Juan nga duol ra unta mi sa venue gibalhin ang team sa Orange Place sa Kamuning, Quezon City, which is an hour’s ride to the venue.

In addition, the players are crammed in small rooms where our tall players had (Landry) Sanjo, Fabrice (Siewe) and (Raymark) Acuno to sleep on the floor kay wala man maigo nila nga bed. They (PCCL) never really expected us to go this far,” Alcoseba said.

But despite that, Alcoseba declared his Cobras are now ready to fight.

“Our game plan is to contain their top guns (Almond) Vosotros, Jeron Teng, (Jason) Perkins and (Arnold) Van Opstal. He (Van Opstal) will surely give us problems because of his size and height. Containing them would be very hard but we will try. In addition we need to be consistent in both offense and defense to stay in the game. We need to challenge their every shots and try to get our games going,” Alcoseba said.

Last Monday, SWU defeated the UAAP champions 68-58 and beating them again, especially in a short series, would need a lot of hard work.

Alcoseba is pinning high hopes on his reliable players, led by Cameroonian Landry Sanjo who is currently leading the MVP race after topping the statistical race with 196 points.

Sanjo came into the Finals carrying a double-double average of 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds.

Alcoseba is also hoping his ace point guard Mark Jayven Tallo could carry his teammates, and he also needs team skipper Monbert Arong to come up with the points.

Arong scored 17 points over DLSU and had 23 against FEU.

The valuable offensive contributions of Adams Mohammed and the rest of the bench may also make the difference for the Cobras’ campaign.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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