The UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball tournament concluded with the highly anticipated finals rematch between the DLSU Green Archers and the ADMU Blue Eagles. The Green-and-White battled their archrivals in three tightly contested games, and was a game away from winning the crown when they lost the deciding game to Ateneo, who took the basketball championship back home to Katipunan.
As quickly as the DLSU community discovered that several players and coaches left Taft, news broke that Deputy head coach Louie Gonzales had been appointed as the new head coach of the Green Archers. Suiting up for the Green Archers this season are Filipino-Australian Brandon Bates, New Zealand native Taane Samuel, Taytung High School’s Miggy Corteza, Joaqui Manuel of Ateneo de Manila High School, Adamson Baby Falcons’ Encho Serrano, and returning player Mark Dyke.
Earlier this year, the team from Taft participated in three major preseason tournaments namely Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup, BLIA Cup in Taiwan, and the Asia-Pacific University Basketball Challenge in South Korea.
Despite being unable to defend the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup Championship and falling out of contention in the other two tournaments, Gonzales maintained a positive outlook saying that he was satisfied with the results his team produced. “In order for you to be successful you have to go through all the process….We did a lot, ginawa naman namin lahat at least through tournaments, madami kaming sinalihan at least to speed it up a bit–but you know it’s not enough.”
Gonzales hopes the Green Archers continues to improve throughout the duration of the season. Playing consistency will be one of the focuses of the team this season as Gonzales explained that the players will have to develop their level of play to increase their chances of making it to the final four and eventually take the crown back to Taft.
The Green Archers that people will be seeing this Season 81 might be quite different compared to the roster for the past seasons. With the loss of Mbala, Abu Tratter, and the Rivero brothers, Gonzales had to find a way of filling the huge gap left by those players.
The addition of the four rookies namely, Corteza (SF), Manuel (SF), Samuel (PF), and Serrano (PG), completes the 13 Archers that will don the Green-and-White jersey for this year’s UAAP. These set of players came to a surprise to many since it is not the usual 14-man roster most teams have. Gonzales shared that he wants to approach this season objectively, “I don’t want na sayangin yung playing years ng ibang players natin—yung mga available talents natin. Kasi everyone’s under a program right now wherein we know we are able to at least [see] yung future ng team because it’s not just this year’s consideration, you have to think of the future nung team natin eh.” Moreover, Gonzales wanted to make sure that the players that he will be sending out have enough confidence to be the best versions of themselves. If he thinks that his athlete is not yet confident– not yet ready, he will prepare that Lasallian more for the upcoming year.
[I don’t want to waste the playing years of our other players–the available talents we have. This is because everyone’s under a program right now wherein we know we are able to at least see the future of the team because it’s not just this year’s consideration, you also have to think of the future of our team.]
For team captain Kib Montalbo, the loss of Mbala, and the other players were a huge blow for the team especially during their pre-season tournaments. Nonetheless, he believes that before the season started, the team has already adjusted quite well with one another, “Oh yeah, it’s a big impact on us, the support and during our off-season it was a huge blow for us. But we have adjusted already and a lot of players stepped up.”
One game at a time
Gonzales has labeled the team’s main objective this UAAP, it is to “remain conscious throughout the season”. The head coach of the Green Archers did not want to foretell the future, rather he wanted the team and himself to focus on what is currently in front of them and try to win as many games as possible. “We want to be conscious throughout the season, siguro just make it a mindset na one game at a time then after let’s see. I don’t want to give din yung end result diba? Siguro yung what’s in front of us right now yun muna yung iproblemahin namin,” Gonzales added.
[We want to be conscious throughout the season, I guess just make it a mindset of one game at a time then after let’s see. I also don’t want to give the end results right? I guess what’s in front of us right now is the problem we’ll face.]
Montalbo does not seem to share the same thoughts as his coach seeing that the championship is what he is setting his mind into as he enters this year’s UAAP, “Personal goal is I just want to reach the championship. I just want to win for them– para kina Santi, for my other teammates who hasn’t tasted the championship yet, i want to bring them the championship.” Having already experienced to be a champion two seasons ago, the captain wants the younger players to have a taste of being a champion as well. He also stated that he will do the best of his abilities to lead the team to bring back the title to Taft in his last playing year for the Green-and-White.
[Personal goal is I just want to reach the championship. I just want to win for them–for Santi and the others, for my teammates who haven’t tasted the championship yet, I want to bring them the championship.]
Gonzales also wants the Archers to give their 100% each and every game that they play. Placing the players in a position that he sees best fit for the team is one of the key aspects that he considered, but he also took in mind how they can be of help to the person beside them.
He also wants the Lasallians to instill in their minds to work as a team throughout the season, and not to play just for themselves. “Yung laging nilalagay ko sa isip nila is ano yung magagawa nila to the guy next to them. They help each other out, they share the ball, whatever they do, they do as a unit. It’s like tinanggal talaga natin yung pagiging individual dito because to us a score versus Kib Montalbo is a score versus La Salle. So everything bad and everything good, lahat yun may effect lagi sa team, hindi dun sa individual,” Gonzales further stated.
[What I always put into their minds is what they can do to the guy next to them. They help each other out, they share the ball, whatever they do, they do as a unit. It’s like we took of their individuality because to us a score versus Kib Montalbo is a score versus La Salle. So everything bad and everything good, all of those always has an effect on the team, not on the individual.]
The Green Archers will kick off Season 81 on Sunday, September 9, at 12 pm against the FEU Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena.