The DLSU Green Archers’ UAAP Season 80 may have ended on a sour note after losing to their archrivals the ADMU Blue Eagles, but it seems that the Green-and-White are going to come back stronger next season. While many familiar faces have exited the team, a number of new ones are hoping to fill the void.
Offseason moves have been the talk of the town for the past few months. The LaSallian keeps you updated with a summary of all the roster turnover the team has gone through since the conclusion of Season 80.
It all began when Ben Mbala, Season 79 & Season 80 Most Valuable Player, notified the DLSU Community that he will no longer be donning the Green-and-White jersey and will be playing in Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, Mexico’s top pro league, with the Mexican professional basketball club Fuerza Regia de Monterrey. This sudden announcement came when issues started to arise as to whether or not Mbala was eligible to play in UAAP Season 81 due to reports stating that the UAAP board was organizing to revive an old rule.
A few weeks later, Aldin Ayo revealed that he would vacate his position as coach of the Green Archers and instead would lead the UST Growling Tigers as their head coach in the upcoming Season 81 this year. This sudden turn of events came as a surprise to many because days before Ayo told the media his decision, a statement was released by La Salle saying that the entire management of DLSU fully supported Ayo, despite falling short in winning the UAAP title.
After much speculation as to why Brent Paraiso, Prince Rivero, and Ricci Rivero took a leave of absence from the team, all three have announced that they too have left La Salle. Paraiso committed to UST and will reunite with Ayo, while Prince Rivero is currently playing with the Gilas Pilipinas cadets and is also planning to make his debut at the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) with the Mandaluyong team. On the other hand, Rivero will be taking his talents to Diliman and play for UP Fighting Maroons. Paraiso and the younger Rivero, however, will not be eligible to play in Season 81 due to residency.
Most recently, big man JBoy Gob has also announced that he will be following R. Rivero and has transferred to UP.
Every cloud has a silver lining. For the rest of the team, the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup has opened opportunities for the rest of the players to play extended minutes. From a macro perspective, new blood has come and will provide additional firepower to the already streaking team.
First, Mark Dyke, who won the championship with DLSU two years ago, is making a comeback. Also, the team has a variety of newcomers that include Ian Herrera, Carlo Lim, Neil Tolentino, Joaqui Manuel, Brandon Bates, Miguel Corteza, and Taane Samuel.
Not to forget, former assistant coach Louie Gonzales has been promoted to head coach and will be taking on the challenge of rebuilding and restructuring the team.
Dyke played his rookie season as part of the 2016 championship team but struggled with limited minutes. He went on to take a leave and almost transferred, but in a turn of events, has found his place under the tutelage of Gonzales. In a recent outing against Emilio Aguinaldo College, he notched in a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
While the Green Archers have lost Mbala, they are blessed with not just one, but two towers in Taane Samuel and Brandon Bates. The duo, both six foot eight, provide the height to exert frontcourt dominance.
Many people believed that this La Salle roster would struggle in the ongoing Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup. On the other side of the spectrum, though, there was also an ample number of fans and professionals who remained optimistic with the changes in the team.
The process of moving on will always be hard, but new additions have also come along to supplement the team. Only time will tell if this team is better or as good as previous iterations of this club.