LEFT without their high scorers, the Southwestern University (SWU) Cobras will rely on the combined performance of their holdovers as they seek to win their first Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation (Cesafi) Collegiate Basketball title this season.
For this season, the Cobras will not only have six new players, but a new coach as well—Antonio “Bong” Begontes—who took over the coaching job from Alejandrito “Dodie” Miego.
Begontes is not new to SWU as he served as an assistant coach since 1994 and was the head coach in the junior’s team back in the days of the Cesafi’s predecessor – the Cebu Amateur Athletic Association (CAAA).
“Dili man lisod kay naka coach na man pod ko ug commercial team (Ozamiz Cotta). Naka serve na pud ko as assistant coach sa mga former head coaches sa SWU so dili na lisud ang transition,” Begontes told Sun.Star Cebu.
Begontes , however, is hounded by the lack of a go-to-guy in crunch time after Eliud Poligrates was banned for life in the Cesafi. His other option, Alfred Belande, is no longer eligible.
“It would be a much easier season if we still have Poligrates but the ban on him stays so we have no choice but to make full use of our holdovers to deliver the points for us,” Begontes said.
Begontes will rely on Arrd Evan Django, Eleazar Armecin, Crescente Litorja, Gilbert Gallarde, Ritchie Jalandoni, the comebacking Clefford Maguate, Jefferson Pria, Rene Pacquiao and Kevin Wagas.
However, Begontes is expecting something good from his rookies—including Beestren Padilla and Daryl Boloran—-who are both from Butuan City. Padilla is a power forward, while BOloran is a center.
He also has Cebu Institute of Technology Wildkitten Joseph Aero Nalos, Bonifacio Gillena, a shooting guard from the Holy Name University, Juneruth Dadang, a swing man from Valencia City Bukidnon and power forward Junard Pineda from Camotes Island.
Begontes admitted it’s going to be an uphill battle for the Cobras, who will have to contend with the likes of the University of the Visayas Green Lancers and the University of Cebu Webmasters.
“I believe UV gihapon ang mo champion. Bisan wala na si (Greg) Slaughter kumpleto man gihapon ilang lineup, naa man gihapon legitimate big men unya kumpleto pa gyud sa mga shooters ug guards. Pero kuyaw sad ang UC kay lisod gyud baya kaayo i-neutralize si (Junmar) Fajardo, unya kumpleto sad ug players ang uban positions,” said Begontes.
As SWU takes the season one game at a time, Begontes is hoping to perfect his run-and-gun offense and pressure defense when the elimination round begins.