THE success of the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars this season hinges on how fast the new players can blend with the system and on their determination to win.

But for USJ-R head coach Edito Salacot, the team’s campaign for the 2010 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) collegiate basketball tournament is going to be tough.

“Sa akong tan-aw tungason kaayo. Daghan kaayo kog bag-ong players,” Salacot told Sun.Star Cebu.

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Salacot’s concern lies in his backcourt position, which he believes is the team’s weakest point.

“Kuwang man sa academic units sila si Joel Alquisola ug Medjet de la Rama. Mao unta to sila’y akong pambato nga guards. Besides ana, kuwang pud among shooting and swing positions. Basta daghan kaayo mig buslot, wa pa ko kahibawo kon asa mi kutob ani,” said Salacot.

Aside from Alquisola and de la Rama, USJ-R will be playing without Jerome Villaver and Edmar Erwin Pateño, who are the team’s best wing players.

Returning to help the four-time Cesafi finalists are Kurt Amores, Gian Carlo Albarillo, Edwin Bibera, Aniceto Lapiz Jr., Jemar de la Peña, Jayson Nudalo, Christian Senining and Abdulaiz Suliman.

“I won’t have much problem in the middle because I still have Amores and Bibera and I got some young rookies who can be good relievers. Basically, my problem right now is the backcourt and the wing. I hope Senining can carry the load,” Salacot said.

Salacot is also pinning his hopes on Clint Muñez, who made some waves in the high school competition last year.

Aside from Muñez, USJ-R will play with Michael Bucayan, Banjo Capilar, Kyle Lajato Renato Abing, Jayson Olbedado and Jose Miguel Tabaloc.

Last year, USJ-R made it to the semifinal round only to be eliminated by the University of Cebu Webmasters in their best-of-three series.

“Semis this year will be a bonus. Because of the current line-up, our aim is to win as many games as we can. I am still pinning hopes that we can stage some upsets. UC is the team to watch this year. They’re stronger than last year,” Salacot said.

USJ-R is expected to play with varied defensive alignments this year but its deliberate half-court game will be its best offensive weapon this season.