“THE finals are about a test of wills.” So said Detroit Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer, the current New York Liberty head coach of the WNBA.
So forget about the elimination and the semifinal rounds, put away the statistics because all that matters now are the scouting reports, heart, will and determination as the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) opens the final chapter of the 2013 season at 6:45 tonight.
Southwestern University finished with a 12-0 win-loss record, while the University of the Visayas had a 9-3 card and all of those losses were against the Cobras.
But for Cobras head coach Raul “Yayoy” Alcoseba, an unblemished record means nothing in the finals.
“With regards to the 12-0 streak we have, it’s gone. Everything is back to zero. I look at our team as the underdogs because majority of our players are juniors and sophomores, while UV has many veteran players in their roster. In a best-of-5 series, there is no advantage. We have to go all-out every game and get it, because no one will hand it to us on a silver platter. Expect every game to be a dog fight,” Alcoseba
said in an e-mailed statement.
UV coach Felix “Donbel” Belano Jr., on the other hand, trusts that his team will bounce back despite losing all their previous games to the Cobras.
“I have complete confidence in my team even if we lost three games against SWU, because championship games are a different story,” Belano told Sun.Star Cebu.
Belano asked his players to win one game and everything will follow.
“I just told my team to get one win so that we can get out of the slump and our confidence level will go up. The keys to winning are proper execution of the game plan, to limit our turnovers and control the boards, especially the offensive rebounds,” Belano said.
Refs from Manila
All throughout this season, SWU has been lording it over the Green Lancers and is on a winning streak that started back in Game 4 of last year’s finals series.
And while the championship protagonists are preparing hard for the finale, Cesafi Commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy reminded the coaches, officials, players and spectators just to enjoy the game and refrain from causing troubles.
‘’Our coaches are already mature, and as gentlemen I expect them to behave inside the court. They should be role models to their players, because whatever actions they would do might be seen as detrimental by the players and spectators. I hope they will focus on the coaching. Don’t mind the referees, just focus on their jobs. We are again getting Manila referees to avoid questions about biases.”
, we want to free our local referees from pressure. And to our spectators, just continue to cheer for your teams but don’t do something that might spark trouble,” Tiukinhoy said.
Before Game 1 of the championship series is Game 1 of the best-of-three series for third place between the University of San Carlos Warriors and the University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars at 5 p.m.