DEFENDING champion Southern Philippine College (SPC) Sharks are not afraid of Philippine Countryville College (PCC) Stags African import Stephane Kazembe when they meet in the 14TH Loyola Cup Collegiate Division final on Thursday night at the Xavier University gym, Cagayan de Oro City.
Sharks top gunner Rudjud Daga is confident they can contain Kazembe, the 18-year-old 6-foot-8 center from Kinshasa, Congo, who is leading the Stags in scoring and rebounds.
Despite Kazembe’s mammoth presence, the Sharks’ high-leaping forward Daga is undaunted and confident they can put up a good fight.
“We can manage him despite of our lack of height. We know how he plays. We can read his game as we have played against him many times already even before he was playing for PCC,” said Daga, a resident of Punta, Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro City.
The third-year Management student also added that his tandem with Chan Pagaran under the boards and on defense will make the difference during game time. “I have played alongside Pagaran for a long time and we have good chemistry,” he said.
Daga top-scored for the Sharks in the semis against rival Xavier University Crusaders on Sunday night with 20 points while Pagaran chipped in nine.
Aside from Daga and Pagaran, the Sharks also have a smart point guard in Joel Go who sparked the Sharks in the second quarter to pull away from the Crusaders during their semis bout. The streak-shooting Go came up with 18 markers.
“I also have good team work with Joel Go, but it is not only us, it is the whole team that sent us to the championship match on Thursday. We are a team and we must work as a team,” Daga said.
Inspite of their optimism, the Stags with Kazembe around will be a tough challenge.
Although the Congan scored only 12 points against the Sharks in their last meeting last March 3, SPC coach Rey Dangcal will be making more adjustments to contain Kezembe.
If the Sharks can stop him, then winning back-to-back title is within their grasp.
Games Thursday, March 14
6 p.m. XU Crusader vs IMCC Rhinos for 3rd placer;
7:30 p.m. Championship SPC Sharks vs PCC Stags-Maramag, Bukidnon