When people see a championship team, the common notion is that they became successful either because of the players or the coaching staff guiding the team. What most people forget to recognize is the involvement and impact that the team manager, along with the different team patrons, have on the team. Despite taking the backstage role, it is really them who makes the most influence since they provide the tangibles as well as the intangibles that the team needs.
For this issue, The LaSallian was able to catch up with one of DLSU’s prominent and successful patrons and team managers, Hero Yu.
Back in 2007, Yu was the sports manager of the DLSU Green Archers when they won the championship against University of the East (UE), who finished the elimination rounds with an undefeated record of 14-0. Years later, he then became the manager of the DLSU Lady Spikers and helped them attain a series of championships as well. In short, he was one of the key persons who helped propel these two teams to the top.
From billiard balls to championship titles
Ever since his college days in DLSU back in the 70s wherein he was taking his undergraduate studies in BS-IME, Yu became a huge fanatic of La Salle both as an institution and as a sports team. According to him, his intense passion for the school was brought by what the school has done for him and for their sports program.
He admits that back in his college days, he wasn’t the kind of student he should have been during his first few years. He shared about his struggles as an undergrad and about his mistakes back then. “I did not do so well during my engineering academics. I was mostly into billiards, and I spent a lot of time in Estrada… Because of my lack of diligence, I flunked the 21 units allowed for students and I almost got kicked out,” Yu shares.
After the incident, he tried to transfer to other schools like Adamson and National University but unfortunately, it didn’t work out for him. Yu then tried to appeal to his former dean at that time, Dean Paulino Tan, in order to allow him to return to the program. “I appealed to Dean Paulino Tan and he gave me a hard time but in the end I told him to give me one last chance under probation and if I flunk or if I get less than 2.0 in any subject, I will voluntarily leave the school,” he says.
He continues by saying that he was allowed to return to the program and he was able to graduate in 1978. Because of the chance that was given to him, he became so grateful to the school. “I am very grateful for that [second chance] because La Salle helped me experience that ‘turnaround’,” shares Yu.
In addition to this, during his days as an undergrad, he became a huge supporter to say the least of the Green Archers, which was led by none other than the legendary Lim Eng Beng. “[The] Lim Eng Beng [fever] happened to me in the 1970s… It seeped into my bloodstream. The bonfires, the cheers of Lim Eng Beng, the rumbles against San Beda and Letran, [these] built me,” he mentions.
More than the money
After his graduation, Yu managed their family business and has become successful in the field of electrical importation. He became involved with his high school alma mater, Xavier School, by organizing different sports tournaments for the alumni. He was also the chairman of the Xavier Sports Committee as well as the chairman for the alumni basketball in Xavier School. Knowing his background, La Salle recruited him to be the Green Archers’ sports manager in 2007 and later on he became the Lady Spikers’ team manager. “The people who recruited me knew my background,” says Yu.
As a sports manager, he devoted both time and money in order to give the team and its players what they need. In spite of being an independent businessman, he prioritized the team’s needs over his businesses. “I devoted my whole time to the team. At that time when I was [the] manager, my priority was to the basketball team. My business, my family, [it] was secondary to the goals and objectives of the La Salle basketball team,” shares Yu. He applied the same principle when he managed the volleyball team. Not only would he provide for their basic necessities, he would also provide the support that they need. In other words, these are the intangibles. “By trying to understand the need of the players, trying to understand the need of the team,” Yu says when asked how he should know what to contribute to the team.
According to him, the team managers would treat the team to trips abroad. More so, he would also help them when it came to their academics or even their personal problems.
Given the number of things he had to do for the team, he also had the support and help of other patrons like him. He explained that during the time when La Salle was under suspension, no one was taking care of the team. Because of this, a group of individuals including him took over and began to manage. Aside from this, he also received help from the different student organizations, whom he approached to show their support for the teams. “There was a hiatus and no one was taking care of the team. This is when Perry Uy came in. He was very much involved and he got me to manage the team along with Terry Capistrano. There was also Francis Yeung and there was Irving Sy,” shares Yu.
Dedication above all else
When asked about the reason behind his whole involvement with the teams, he simply states, “Giving back to the school. The satisfaction of giving back to the school [and] saying, ‘Thank you very much, salamat La Salle’.” According to him, all he wanted to do was to help the players and see them grow both as athletes and students, and of course, to see them win championships.
Seeing how Danding Cojuangco manages the team now, he has nothing but praise to give. He believes that it’s this kind of dedication and school spirit that separates schools like La Salle and Ateneo from the rest. “Danding Cojuangco is a fantastic manager. I mean he’s not well, he’s sick yet you see him there every day. You can see the dedication that the managers have and it transfers on,” Yu says.
During his years as a patron and as a team manager, he would describe the time when La Salle won the championship in 2007 over UE to be the highest moment of his career. On the other hand, his lowest moment would be the time that he had to resign from his post.
“I did not want to resign. I wanted to continue going. I enjoyed it, it was a sacrifice but what is life without sacrifices? What is life without pain? What is life without challenges? You’ve got to face the challenge and overcome them and that is what gives you satisfaction hindi ba?” Yu says.