TWO collegiate teams with contrasting fates will debut this afternoon as the 2013 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) basketball tournament resumes at the Cebu Coliseum.
The retooled University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) Jaguars and the Cebu Institute of Technology-University Wildcats, who lost one key player each before the season started, will start their campaigns to nab a ticket to the semifinal round in the main game at 6:45 p.m. The first game will be between the USJ-R Baby Jaguars and the University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers at 5 p.m.
Originally, the high school match was to be between the University of Cebu (UC) and University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) but the untimely death of Jun Jereza, the school’s vice-president for administration, forced Cesafi to change the schedule.
“In observance of the untimely death of Mr. Jun Jereza of USPF, there will be changes in the schedule for the high school match,” Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy said.
USJ-R coach Edito Salacot believes that although he lost Abulaiz Sulaiman, Renato Abing, Benjo Capillar and Jason Olbedado, the Jaguars have become stronger despite having a lot of rookies.
Salacot is pinning his hopes on the flashy Rendell Thomas Senining and Fletcher Galvez, who helped the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles win the Cesafi high school title last year and the Palarong Pambansa gold medal last April.
Aside from Senining and Galvez, USJ-R acquired the services of former Cebu Eastern College players Edmundo Bayhonan and Rex Darwin Villarosa, who are expected to provide the needed points for the Jaguars.
Unlike the Jaguars, CIT-U coach Gilbert Demape is still struggling to find a center who can fill in the shoes left by Allan Dimco. His star player was disqualified this season because of his failure to meet the 60 percent passing rate.
Without Dimco, the four-cornered offense of the Wildcats is reduced to three, with team captain Christian Floyd Taboada and rookies Vincent Minguito and Joshua de la Cerna expected to work double to light up the scoreboard.
However, Demape is expecting Franklin Batiquin, John Michael Graf and Bridirick Brigoli to step up and help the team.