After suffering a devastating loss in the hands of Mark Belo of the FEU Tamaraws in the final moments of the UAAP season 77 Basketball semi-finals, the DLSU Green Archers look to polish their system and arsenal for a hopeful comeback. Part of their preparation is the recruitment of promising players who are looking to contribute in taking the elusive crown back to Taft.
With the departure of La Salle’s key players, namely Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres due to graduation, and backup guards Robert Bolick and Terrence Mustre opting out for other schools, a fresh batch of talented recruits may be the finishing touch the Green Archers need as they continue to extend La Salle’s winning legacy.
Proving their worth
Former Division-I guard from the University of Texas Joshua Torralba, together with Philippine Team sharp-shooter Jollo Go, and San Beda standout Andrei Caracut have set their course for the Green Archers. Although committing to play for the University is already a great accomplishment in itself, the real challenge for these newcomers is what can they bring to the table.
Torralba, who has had an experience in winning a championship while playing in the United States, was supposed to continue playing for another season overseas. However, his former coach was laid-off and Torralba had to leave eventually. “… I had nowhere to go and La Salle picked me up. So, it’s a blessing,” he says.
Moreover, Torralba has already proven his worth for a brief period for La Salle as he scored nine points as a rookie in a win against the JRU Heavy Bombers during the PCCL last November 9. Torralba also had a short stint at Emilio Aguinaldo College before joining La Salle, wherein he averaged 15 points per game on 33 percent shooting.
Jollo Go, who is currently a high school student at Hope Christian High School, possesses a very unique talent on the hard court. The former RP Team guard talks about his dreams of playing for La Salle, “Ever since po kasi bata pa po ako, pag nanonood ako ng UAAP hindi ko po alam bakit yun nafi-feel ko. Pero parang sinasabi ko po sa sarili ko na sana one day, makapag laro ako sa La Salle.”
His desire to bear the green and white colors of the was not the only reason La Salle committed to Go, as the young gun also packs a punch especially during his stint with the Batang Gilas team where he scored a game-high 27 points in a loss against Argentina during their last game in the FIBA Under-17 World Championship in Dubai last August.
In addition, Go is expected to provide the outside shooting Almond Vosotros once gave the La Salle team as the former RP Youth player once led Team Philippines in three point shooting in his game-high performance against Indonesia.
Lastly, Go was one of the 39 chosen to participate in the NBA’s first Basketball without Borders Global Camp in conjunction with the NBA-All star in New York last February.
Andrei Caracut ended his high school stint with San Beda by helping them win their sixth straight Jr. NCAA title and with him winning the Finals MVP award. The 5-foot-10 guard did more than lead his team. He did it in dominating fashion, scoring 30 points and grabbing nine rebounds during Game 3 to secure the championship.
Into the spotlight
As a young basketball superstar for his high school and his country, there is no doubt that all eyes were on Jollo Go to make some noise. At an early age, the soon-to-be Archer describes how he deals with pressure. “Ako naman hindi ko iniisip yung mga taong tumitingin at tsaka kung ano-ano sinasabi. Basta pag naglalaro ako, kung ano lang yung role ko at ano lang sabihin sakin ng coach at ng teammates ko, ginagawa ko lang. Hindi ko na pinapansin yung ibang bagay kasi hindi yan makakatulong sa akin,” he explains.
On the other hand, Torralba has his mind set on winning a championship for the Taft-based squad. “My main goal is just to win a championship for La Salle. Whatever role our coach wants, whatever he wants me to be, I’m fine with that,” he shares.
Lorenzo Navarro is another hot name in the recruitment radars of schools. While 12 points and five assists per game outing may be seen as average, it is his defensive prowess that got the recruiters’ attention, racking up to three steals a game.
As of press time, Navarro has yet to commit formally to the Green Archers squad but he has been seen participating in the drills led by coach Juno Sauler alongside the veterans and other recruits hoping to make the cut.
Big names are donning the Green Archers’ jersey for this upcoming season. But the problem with having too many big guns is how you would fit them all in one holster. With the calendar shift of schools affecting the UAAP season as well, coach Sauler would have plenty of time to turn these players into a working system.