Cobras coach Mike: We can’t give Lancers the momentum
Emmanuel B. Villaruel (The Freeman) - November 20, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma Cobras head coach Mike Reyes has indicated that they are going for no less than a clean sweep against the reigning grandslam champions University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers in their best-of-three finals in the 19th Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball tournament.

Banking on the endgame heroics of foreign student-athlete Lamine Thiam and vaunted marksman Shaquille Imperial, the Cobras overcame a spirited challenge by the Lancers all game long to draw first blood in the series via a close 70-66 decision last Monday night.

The Cobras squandered a 43-32 lead midway in the third quarter but kept its poise and composure in the crucial stretch to down the Lancers and move a win away from clinching their first title in five years.

“Our ball movement helped us a lot and we did well limiting their offensive rebounds. (Web will apply) same plan for Game 2,” said Reyes, who was then the assistant of coach Yayoy Alcoseba when the Cobras snared their last CESAFI crown in 2014.

Now, the Cobras are looking forward to finish off the Lancers in crucial Game 2 scheduled at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, November 21, at the Cebu Coliseum.    

“We can not give the 3-peat champs the momentum,” said Reyes.

Reading in between the lines of what Reyes said, it seems that the Cobras are poised to pull off a sweep, just like what they did to the Lancers in capturing their first ever CESAFI Partner’s Cup title last summer.

It won’t be an easy task though for the Cobras as the Lancers, facing no tomorrow, will surely wage an all-out war to keep their four-peat dreams alive.

And losing by just four points despite they committed an avalanche of turnovers in the opener gave UV coach Gary Cortes great confidence of a comeback fight by his side.

“We played very bad basketball,”said Cortes of their Game 1 setback. “But even we committed a lot of errors, they only beat us by 4 points. We just have to minimize our errors.”

The Lancers are no strangers to pulling a big surprise when the odds are stuck against them.

In the 2013 CESAFI Finals, the Lancers rallied from a 0-2 series deficit to topple the Cobras, then led by league MVP Mark Jayven Tallo, in a decisive Game 5 on the way to pocket their 10th title since the league’s inception in 2001.

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