“It’s a good nervous kind of feeling,” remarks Joshua Torralba on his feelings coming into his first season in the UAAP.
After completing his residency requirements, the DLSU Green Archers’ new hotshot Torralba is more than ready to finally step into the limelight of the country’s premier collegiate league. And with a significant share of the media hype on La Salle’s rookies focused on the talented and charming Torralba, The LaSallian sits with him as he shares his thoughts on the UAAP, the Green Archers, campus life, and his lifestyle beyond being a student-athlete.
Born and raised in the United States, Torralba grew up with a strong inclination towards basketball, as influenced by his father and by the basketball-loving Filipino culture in which he got immersed in. “I started playing basketball when I was three or four [years old],” shares the Fil-Am Green Archer rookie.
Taking the sport more seriously as he got older, Torralba’s talents did not go unnoticed, as local scouts immediately sought him to play for the youth national team. “The first time I came [to the Philippines], I played for RP [Youth Team]….for Team Pilipinas. So I was part of the national team,” Torralba narrates. “That was back in high school, in 2009.”
After Joshua’s stint with the national team, he went back to the United States to finish high school. He then returned to the Philippines for college to suit up for the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals in the NCAA back in 2011. He did not exhaust his NCAA eligibility though, as he went home to America to continue playing college ball there. “I went back to the [United] States to play in college, but then my coach got fired…And the new coach didn’t want me, so I came back here [since I was recruited to play] for La Salle,” Torralba expresses.
Upon coming to La Salle, Torralba waited out his required residency years by training with the Green Archers Team B for the Father Martin’s Cup. He played alongside other prized La Salle recruits such as Ben Mbala, Larry Muyang, and Daryl Pascual, among others in the developmental team.Torralba also acknowledges how he feels more at home and comfortable in DLSU, now that he is playing for the University. “La Salle is one of the most prestigious universities here in the country… I feel like I’m more in the States here kasi a lot of people are English-speaking,” the 6’2” rookie comments.
And as UAAP Season 78 goes underway, Torralba is expected to be one of DLSU head coach Juno Sauler’s vital cogs in their quest to regain the crown. Because there are only six veterans left in the squad, the Green Archer rookie hopes to contribute to achieving the team’s goals for the season. “Since I’m an ‘old’ rookie, I want to help the team in any way possible, using my age, my maturity, and my experience as an edge,” the 22-year-old Sports Management major expresses. “It’s not easy. But I’m willing to go for the challenge.”
Coming into his first season in the UAAP, Torralba is not only known for his basketball talent, as he has also pursued some modeling stints in his vacant time, particularly for Chalk Magazine. “So far, this past month, marami [akong photo shoots]. It’s a cool experience. I like those kinds of stuff,” shares Torralba. And with the early popularity that he has gained even before he has officially stepped into the court in a La Salle jersey, Torralba shares how much he is flattered by the appreciation given to him by his supporters, “It’s crazy how I see fan clubs on Twitter. And it’s a blessing talaga to have that recognition. It’s flattering. I feel blessed for them (media) to talk about me. Siyempre may pressure, but I don’t think
about it too much.”
“I’m a normal guy. It’s just basketball. It’s just what I do,” he shares with regard to his thoughts on having a growing social media following. And just like an ordinary student, Torralba follows the usual routine of going to class and trying to meet as many new friends as possible. “I try to communicate with people, socialize, [and] make new friends. I try to meet a lot of new people and build my circle of networking.” And while La Salle’s basketball stars have always been popular in campus by default, Torralba stresses that he remains to be a normal person, keeping his feet on the ground despite the overwhelming hype that he and his team receives. “Our position as athletes of La Salle…it’s really a big honor. It’s a humbling experience for me,”
Aside from their regular training sessions in the Enrique Razon Sports Complex, one could usually find Joshua Torralba hanging out in coffee shops and milk tea places around the Taft area, trying to broaden up his social circle. And while he admits that he misses his family and friends from the States, he regularly communicates with them via social media. “If you see me with my [phone] camera on campus, it’s usually me communicating with my friends,” Torralba adds.
He also points out that one of his staple engagements besides his duties as a student-athlete and model is attending church activities in his ministry. He mentions that he maintains a God-centric lifestyle, on top of all his current life proceedings, “I’ve been through a lot. And God has been the focal point of my life. If I have the opportunity, I attend bible study. I like going to church a lot, to worship, to give honor to God,” the Green Archer standout narrates.
Full of promise
Torralba, indeed, is one of the UAAP’s newest faces to watch out for as the season goes by. With all the attention that has built up in anticipation of his entry into this year’s rookie-laden Green Archers roster, expectations are high for the Filipino-American cager. As he tries to prove his worth and find his niche in what is perhaps the country’s most followed college sports league, Torralba seeks not to be daunted by all the hype, “When you’re wearing a La Salle jersey, people are looking at you talaga. The expectations are high. But I don’t really try to fulfill other people’s expectations because it’s hard, you can’t please everyone.”
Although he has missed the first two games of the UAAP season after being sidelined with a wrist injury, Torralba remains excited and optimistic. Simply focusing on his own personal goals and the team goals, Torralba hopes to help the Green Archers achieve what they have been working hard for – the championship.
“Whenever I’m on the court, my goal is that I leave nothing behind as long as I know that I give my best. I want to leave everything on the court; I don’t want to leave anything behind. I want to give my 100 percent,” Torralba concludes.