SportsCoach Susan Neri: Hoping to continue a winning tradition
Coach Susan Neri: Hoping to continue a winning tradition
September 15, 2018
September 15, 2018

Things are about to change for the DLSU Woodpushers in a short span of time. Aside from the adjustment of their season from the second half of the UAAP to the first, a huge transition in their coaching staff is also set to take place. Long-time head coach Randy Segarra is about to pass the torch to assistant coach, Susan Neri.

“It’s not about La Salle, it’s more of your mission in cultivating youth and parang kung baga it’s not about the title anymore but it’s about [how] can you cultivate our youth for the future,” shares Neri as she and Segarra aspire to make a stable succession of leadership for the future of the DLSU Woodpushers. With a strong will to guide the team, Neri is more than willing to step up as head coach in Season 81.


Humble Beginnings

The AB Psychology graduate hails from the island of Boracay and has the expertise in chess running through her veins. Her father was a national master, while her two other siblings also played as varsity in their respective schools. “Since we were young we were already trained, the three of us. Parang, ok this is a talent that you can make use to reach your dreams,” she says. It was a sense of practicality which brought Neri to playing chess. Her ambition to study in one of the top schools came true because of her engaging in the sport.

She made the decision of joining La Salle last 2008 where she got to play with national master, Aiza Salvador, and Angeli Dimakiling back in her days as a Lady Woodpusher. The Aklan-bred coach has an advocacy of fighting poverty through sports and education which brought her to where she is today.


Taft life

She has dedicated her stay in the university playing and coaching for DLSU. On her fifth year, she was promoted by Segarra to be his assistant coach due to their immense mentor-mentee relationship. Since 2012, both have been working together to establish teams, which are capable of championship runs.

Neri sees Coach Randy as a father-figure and a best friend. “If you’re a provincial player parang talaga you seek family, so siyempre pag namimiss mo parents mo, you look for people around you and that’s what he gave me – a family.” But what she praises most about the veteran coach is his passion for the game. “Huwaran ko siya at model ng character and siya yung coach na talagang nafeel ko yung malasakit.

Meanwhile, in terms of work the two coaches see to it that they meticulously sit on a particular topic. They are the support and rescue kind of tandem, filling up each other’s mistakes and shortcomings.

Apart from teaching, Neri is also a part-time teacher in the Psychology department of La Salle. “So syempre, that’s another calling for me kasi I also really want to teach so sabi ko I need to learn more for the kids because it’s about what I can do for the kids,” she expounds further.


The new job

As the new head coach, Neri claims that she cannot say much just yet since she and the team are still getting to know each other. She also says that first impressions and skills don’t matter because it’s more of how the coaches feel at ease with the player and how persistent or persevering they might be at the first attempt. “In sports, hindi lang sapat na magaling at matalino ka. Usually, dala yan ng sipag at tiyaga,” she explains

(In sports, it’s not enough that you are good and smart. It’s usually the hardwork and perseverance that pays off.)

With three new recruits, Neri wants to focus on the psychological part. Knowing that she’s got intelligent players, she wants to work on the quality of their thinking, which she thinks is the challenging part. As for the team’s programs, she wants to tackle it in an individual approach and not as a team basis.

When it comes to strengths and weaknesses, the new head coach says that working on her weaknesses is her strength and that it has become a part of her character thanks to Lasallian teachings. Coming from being an assistant head coach, Neri says that she will have to tackle the difficult task of adjusting, which she claims is another strength of hers. Although she knows it will be a struggle, she still considers the team a blessing to her because aside from teaching and guiding them in preparation for the upcoming season, they too will be able to guide her skill-wise and chess-wise.

Even before becoming head coach, Segarra has always been a model for Neri when it comes to humility and compassion and she wants to pass these on to the team by showing these virtues herself instead of verbalizing, the way Coach Randy had always done. “Yan yung gusto ko iretain. Ang daming pwede but we thrive on character. And because he thrived on character, that’s where i’m also [going to] come from,” she explains further.


A bright future

Retaining the championship of the Lady Woodpushers is one thing that Neri wants to retain in the upcoming season, and give at least a decent finish for the Green Woodpushers whilst giving their best effort and surprising the other teams. But her number one goal for the long run is to help her team achieve academic success because her players’ education is a very important thing for her. “Ang sinasabi ko sakanila is education [comes] first cause not a lot of people are blessed to have these kinds of things,” she stresses.