AFTER winning back-to-back Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) titles, the University of the Visayas Green Lancers are setting their eyes on the ultimate prize —the Philippine Collegiate Champions League title.

Despite still having four months to go before the event, UV coach Gary Cortes is cutting short the rest he gave to the Lancers to resume training next week in preparation for the tough competition.

“We will start our preparations next week for the PCCL. The very first thing we will be doing is to toughen up. We will do the weight training first. We have three months to bulk up and perfect our plays,” Cortes told SunStar Cebu.

Since there are no other contenders in the Visayas elimination, PCCL founder Joe Lipa said, the champion of Cesafi will qualify automatically for the National Championships, which will be in February next year.

The other teams will have to go through the elimination round, which is on Nov. 15-18 for South Luzon-Bicol in Naga City; Nov. 21-25 for Mindanao in Davao City; Nov 26 to 30 for North and Central Luzon and Dec. 1 to 3 for the NCR.

The champions and runners-up of the UAAP and NCAA tournaments will also automatically advance to the national finals.

Cortes is now thinking of beefing up his line-up and is looking to fill the spot vacated by Coleen Testa, who left for home after the first round of the elimination phase.

“I’ll be changing two players. We need another point guard and Geleant Delator will fill in for the slot left by Testa. The other one will be under evaluation but for now, we need to focus on the job ahead,” Cortes said.

Delator left the Universityof Cebu Webmasters before the start of the school year to transfer to UV.

He saw action with the Lancers during the Bayugan City Mayor’s Cup championship and helped UV beat the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers for the title.

UV is also eyeing to replace other players but it will depend on their performance in the training.

“We have Melvin Botohan waiting but in order for him to make the line-up for the PCCL, I have to drop one in my current line-up. But if they’ll show progress in the next three months I might reconsider my decision,” Cortes said.

This will be Cortes’s third appearance to the national finals. The first was back in 2014 when he steered UV to a 3rd place finish.

In 2015, UV was eliminated in the first round. (RCM)