While Season 80 has not been all that kind to the DLSU Lady Archers, there are still a few positive things to build upon from this season. Despite losing key pieces of their roster, including Camille Claro due to an ACL injury, the novices have given their fair share of hard work to contribute to the team’s tremendous efforts. While still bannered by Khate Castillo and Kat Nuñez, Charmaine Torres has been one of the team’s most consistent players and has excelled despite her being one of the team’s younger players. She has been remarkable in her performances so far, giving quality minutes for the team, as she has stepped up for the injured Claro.
Torres was introduced to basketball as early as the age of four. The college junior picked up her interest in the sport on her own by watching, observing, and then having the chance to play. “Parang kasi nung bata ako mostly lalaki na talaga yung mga kalaro ko so sumasali ako sa kanila. Yung mga kalaro ko yung mga kapitbahay namin, mga childhood friends ko,” Torres explains.
(When I was a kid, I played mostly with boys so I joined them. The people I played with were my neighbors, my childhood friends.)
As a teenager, she remained enthusiastic when it came to sports. Back in her high school days at the Angelicum College in Quezon City, however, Torres was immersed in another sport— volleyball, wherein she was part of her alma mater’s varsity team, until she was finally introduced to the idea of women’s basketball.
“Actually, noong bata ako wala pa akong alam na may women’s basketball pala. Nalaman ko lang siya noong high school ako, volleyball kasi ako before. Tapos noong high school ako meron palang women’s basketball so nag-tryout ako doon,” she says.
(Actually, when I was young, I didn’t know there was women’s basketball. I only found out about it when I was in high school because I played volleyball before. Then in high school, I tried out for women’s basketball.)
Coming into college, the guard, who is playing in her second year with the team, did not really believe in her capabilities and had no intentions of continuing her career in basketball. At the time, she didn’t really think that she would be able to keep up with the strength and the skills of those in the UAAP.
Nevertheless, the Quezon-native tried out for the College of Saint Benilde before playing for La Salle. However, she had personal problems with her stay in Benilde which made her have to leave. The adept guard seemed to have a special preference to continue with the Green-and-White, though, which she favored over other universities.
“Pinapili ako kung mag-iibang school ba ako like UP or Ateneo pero sabi ko ayaw ko parang sinabi ko na it’s either CSB or La Salle lang. Tapos nag-tryout ako [for DLSU] hanggang sa nakuha ako,” she mentions.
(They made me decide if I would go to a different school like UP or Ateneo but I said no since I really wanted either CSB or La Salle. So I tried out [at DLSU] until I was finally accepted.)
Torres is currently in her third year at DLSU despite playing just two years for the Lady Archers, which makes her an important part of the future core of the women’s basketball team. The Sports Management major also mentions Castillo as her favorite teammate due to her lethal shooting ability behind the arc, which she would love to emulate one day.
As for her role in the team, Torres emphasizes versatility on her part. “Ngayon as a guard parang lahat ng small guys kailangan alam ko kasi pwede maging one or two or three. Sa mga teammates ko din na guard lahat din kailangan alam nila kahit as a big guy,” she says.
(Now, as a guard it’s like all the small guys can play the one, two, or three. My teammates who are guards as well also have to know everything, even the role of a big guy.)
In Torres’ opinion, one of the significant factors of her maturity in La Salle is Lady Archers head coach Cholo Villanueva. Torres treats Villanueva both as a mentor and as a second father. Although she sees him as someone that is strict in drills and during games, Torres takes it as something which pushes her to commit to doing her best.
“Ginuguide niya kami sa studies, parang kinakamusta niya kami at pag may problema kami tinutulungan niya kami sa mga problema namin,” she adds further. (He guides us with our studies, he asks how we are if we have problems and if we do, he helps us with our problems.)
Meanwhile, Torres’s main priority is to give La Salle a championship title, which goes hand-in-hand with her other goal of being more disciplined, on and off the court, to improve her skills and attitude. “Learn from your mistakes and ‘wag agad sumuko at laban lang,” is advice from Villanueva which really stuck to her and has guided her in her life.