Winning a championship is not an easy task. Defending one does not come any easier especially since every team will be fired up going against you. Luckily for the DLSU Green Archers, not only do they have one of the league’s brightest stars in reigning UAAP Finals MVP Jeron Teng, but they also boast a heavily loaded lineup from the perimeter to the post that has been reinforced by a handful of rookies.
Big man Abu Tratter is one of the first-year studs who are eager to help deliver the title to Taft Avenue once again. Showing off skills on the court since he was 11 years old, the Filipino-American athlete eventually fell in love with the sport and has performed well so far as a Green Archer.
Raised by parents who prioritize studies above others, the athletic rookie was introduced to the game of basketball late in his childhood. It did not diminish Tratter’s passion for the sport and he describes the feeling he experienced playing basketball, saying, “I love it a lot. It’s like the first time you love something.”
After graduating high school in California in 2012, Tratter showed his interest to take his talents to the Philippines. Eventually, the rookie forward decided to play for the Green-and-White squad.
Upon the completion of his residency requirements, Tratter found himself inserted in head coach Juno Sauler’s 14-man lineup along with three other rookies: Terrence Mustre, Prince Rivero, and Julian Sargent. Fighting for minutes in the rotation, Tratter earned a significant amount of playing time after he began establishing himself on the court, especially on the defensive end. Other than grabbing rebounds and guarding the paint, Tratter enjoys attacking the rim with his emphatic dunks whenever he is in the open court, such as when he finished with a dunk in transition against the AdU Soaring Falcons in the first round.
The level of physicality in the UAAP surprised the rookie during his first few games, but after keeping his focus and sticking to the game plan, Tratter had no trouble adjusting to Sauler’s system as a role player. “Knowing the game plan is more important than anything else,” mentions Tratter.
With injuries affecting some members of the Green Archers, it is important that the remaining healthy players step up, pick up the slack and continue the winning ways that this DLSU squad is capable of, as shown during the latter half of the previous tournament en route to their championship.
“We were definitely struck that a lot of players are being hurt so we’re just really trying to stay healthy, trying to stay fit,” laments Tratter regarding the difficulties faced by fellow teammates. He adds, “At the same time, we [the rookies] have to step up and definitely be there [when the time comes]. [It helps] that our bench is still deep that allows us to do just that.”
The rookies, as well as the role players, approach each game with a level of hustle and energy which coupled with their ever-ready approach to each and every game exhibit just how deep, disciplined and determined this squad is in its quest for another championship.
Despite the attention that comes with a title defense, Tratter remains confident about DLSU’s chances this year. In contention of a spot in the Final Four, not to mention this season’s top seed, Tratter and the rest of the Green Archers are bound to make more noise as they climb their way to another memorable season. For the most part, the Lasallian community continues to hope that another championship is on the way from Green Archers.
“We have such a great team chemistry and the players are very confident,” Tratter shars on the team’s chances in clinching this season’s title. “We get the same feeling around [each other] that definitely mends well.”