CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- For two straight years, the Region 10 (North Mindanao) Palaro Secondary Boys basketball team has failed to advance to the semis, losing by only one point in the quarterfinals.

This year, James Racines, who has coached the team for four straight years now, wants to stop that “jinx,” vowing to advance to the semis and eventually win a medal for the region.

“In Antique two years ago, we lost to Region 7 (Central Visayas) by one point in the quarterfinals. Last year, we also suffered the same setback against Western Visayas. I hope to stop this jinx,” he said on Monday.

The architect of a very successful basketball program of a tiny school in Barangay Balulang, the Assumption Montessori School (AMS), Racines said he is bringing a team of reliable players to Davao but wants his players to stay focused during the matches.

“It is important that they do not lose their composure during the games,’’ he said, noting that teams from the National Capital Region, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas are the teams to watch.

Racines will lean on his players from his AMS team, Gary Antigua, Josef Usman, Kenneth Samorin, Ern Neri, and Charmelou Halina.

He will also get help from reinforcements Angelo Mercado from the City High School, and Lino Dubria and Kim James Bulasa from Valencia City, Bukidnon.

Completing his 12-man team are Noel Sisa, Jerry Rivera Jr., Christiantly Perocho and Joswa Montelaba, all from AMS.

AMS won the Cagayan de Oro Division meet last year and advanced to the Palarong Pambansa after beating Valencia City for the gold medal in the regional meet in December last year.

The team left for Davao City Sunday morning and are billeted at the Calinan Central Elementary School in Davao City. All their games will be played at the University of Southeastern Philippines. (PNA)