With Season 78 Mythical Five member Ara Abaca and team captain Alyanna Ong playing out their eligibility at the end of last season, there was a need for a veteran Lady Archer to step up and take on the leadership roles left behind by the aforementioned players. While it has taken a team effort for the DLSU Lady Archers to continue on the success they had last season, as they are currently second in the standings, two players in particular have stepped up and taken on roles that entail more than just triumph on the court. For the team coached by former Green Archer Cholo Villanueva, it has been Camille Claro and Khate Castillo.
Taking on a leadership role
After last year’s heartbreak in the semifinals against the ADMU Lady Eagles, the Lady Archers spent all their time since trying to improve upon last year’s disappointing finish. What didn’t help, though, is the loss of many of their key players. Claro explains, “This year, nawala na ang mga star player namin, sina Ara [Abaca] at si Fretzie [Oyao], so kailangan namin mag step up ng isa-isa.”
Aside from better showings on the court, however, they know that as veterans on the team, many of their teammates look up to them for advice. “For me kasi, parang lalo na ako kasi point guard na ako, kailangan maging mas magkaroon ng leadership sa loob ng court,” says Claro. Castillo continues to elaborate, saying, “Nahirapan kami. Kailangan naming mag step up lahat kasi wala na yung dati sina Ara so kailangan lahat bumakat talaga.”
Students of the game
Basketball teaches more than just getting a ball into a hoop. It teaches discipline and many other things that can be learned from coaches or many other influences. For Claro and Castillo, they both feel lucky to have learned from a coach like Cholo Villanueva. “Friends kami lahat,” explains Castillo. “Walang favoritism, yun sabi nga ni coach ayaw niya ang individual individual kasi nga, set team kami turing naming magkakapatid,” Claro further explains what they have learned from their coach. “Iba kasi nung high school. Iba naman, iba yung laro ng college sa high school. Kanya kanya star player [sa high school], pero sa college, team na talaga,” adds Claro.
Aside from this, both have learned a great deal from the sport they both love. For Castillo, it was trusting her teammates and always putting in effort. On the other hand, Claro says, “Ako, siguro, maging disciplined and have respect sa opponent and other people.”
Life as a student athlete
With Claro and Castillo, both studying Sports Management and entering their fourth and third years, respectively, it has been a challenge, like for all athletes, to balance academics and sports. “[From] 6 to 9 am yung training namin, tas marami ang time ng studies so yun… medyo naman nababalance naman,” explains Claro. While both do feel tired after practice, they know that both academics and basketball are equally important so both deserve an equal amount of effort. Castillo says, “Kailangan ibalance yung oras mo talaga di lang porket basketball player ka, basketball lang. Kailangan balance, student athlete ka.”
The college game
After trying out and getting into the team, adjusting to the college game was a challenge for the two. “May system na sinusunod,” Castillo explains. And adjust they did, as Claro is currently one of the premiere point guards of the league, while Castillo is a renowned player on the wing.
After losing to the FEU Lady Tamaraws and NU Lady Bulldogs in the second round, the team remains optimistic. Claro states, after the loss to FEU, “Sabi nga ni coach na dun mo malalaman ang attitude to win, kung magbounce back ka or madadadown lalo. Pero for us naman, we’re going to bounce back din.”
The Lady Archers definitely have what it takes to go all the way this season, regardless of their setbacks. It will be up to Claro, Castillo, and other key players to lead the way for the team through opponents, adversities, and especially, themselves.