THE Agro-Industrial Foundation College of the Philippines (AIFCP) Sailors are ready for battle as the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) National Junior Mindanao Finals kicks off on Saturday at the Summit Center in Zamboanga City.
Sailors head coach Mat Cubero, speaking at the regular Davao Sportswriters Association (DSA) Forum yesterday at the Tower Inn, said they have prepared hard for the two-day championship.
"We are ready to fight and face all teams. We are ready for battle," Cubero said.
Cubero, who steered the Sailors to the college division 1 championship in the Gaisano South (GS) Cup in December, said his players are in high morale and are physically fit for the battle that awaits them in Zamboanga.
"We are very grateful for the support of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and the city government of Davao for sending us to the tournament. Funding our trip there is really a big morale-booster for us. Our school is also helping us with allowances," he said.
Cubero said the past nine days have been very rigid for his wards as he engaged them into a training program that required the players' full attention.
"I made the program for them and my assistant, Michael Maniego, implemented it with them. I also told the players that this rare opportunity given to us is just too good to pass that's why we have to give our best. There's no room to relax or to be complacent," he said.
"We focused on drills that enhanced their stamina and endurance on court. The boys are ready. We are hoping to win and represent Mindanao to the national finals," Maniego added.
The Sailors, who will leave with the Holy Child School of Davao (HCSD) Reds today, will compete against two teams from Zamboanga and one team from Cagayan de Oro.
Michael Cañete, Jeffrey Basmayor, Welvin Tanguan, Donald Pelantes and Richezel Valliscer will lead the Sailors' bid in the Under-19 division.
Hermogenes Maning Jr., Mario Emmanuel Bonleon, Sr., Joshua Dave Aguilon, Christopher Jay Gavia and Daniel Ryan Sumalinog, meanwhile, are expected to call the shots for the Reds in the Under-17 event with coach Ildefonso Cunanan at the helm. Nestor Sorrosa and Rogelio Rabago will assist the latter.(MLSA)