Polican's move to Cebu gets him his first basketball title

Jonas Panerio

LEFT without a team to play for after the coaches that recruited him over at Adamson University departed, point guard William Polican was left at a crossroads.

Should he try his luck at another University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) member school and sit out a year? Or look for an opportunity elsewhere? He eventually made his way to Cebu, linked up with Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma, and the rest as they say, is history.

And history is exactly what Polican and the rest of the Cobras attained this season as they captured the collegiate title in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) after dethroning long-time champions, University of the Visayas (UV), in a thrilling Game Three last Friday, November 22, 2019.

Although the pride of Surigao is definitely elated with the feat, he could not help but remember how things were when he was left with no choice but to leave the Soaring Falcons’ nest after playing in the UAAP for two seasons.

“It’s been a long journey for me because I played for Adamson for four years--two years in Team B and then, two more in Team A. But the coaches got cut off and sadly, I was also included,” recalled the crafty 5-foot-9 guard.

“I didn’t have a choice because if I transferred to another UAAP or NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association ) school, I would have had to go through a residency period which meant I needed to sit out another year. So I decided to play in the Cesafi and luckily, coach Mike (Reyes) knew me already and it is also near to my family in Surigao,” shared Polican.

Not to say that Polican’s entry into the Cobras’ lair meant instant results; the team even finished dead last during the 2018 season. But instead of wallowing in their woes, Polican inspired his teammates--veterans and rookies alike--to work harder and make sure that the following season would end on a more successful note.

After claiming the preseason Partner’s Cup title, the Cobras kept their momentum and was within a victory away from capturing the 2019 crown. But UV had other plans, winning Game Two and then, obliterated SWU-Phinma’s 18-point lead in Game Three and even held a lead late in the fourth canto.

Polican relayed that it was their head coach, Mike Reyes, that helped keep them together when things were on the verge of falling apart.

“We almost gave up but coach Mike reminded us that this is the last chance that we had. There was no more tomorrow. And this was the culmination of all the hard work that we have been putting in since November of last year,” said Polican.

The cagey point guard eventually sealed the title victory for SWU-Phinma by canning two pressure-packed free throws with just eight seconds left in the game.

“My last collegiate season was just so incredible because of my teammates. They always trusted me no matter what happened and they always had my back! And this is unforgettable for me because this is my very first championship since high school. I’m so blessed to end my collegiate career with a championship because all graduating players want this. I’m so lucky to be one of them.”