New-look Green Archers aim for redemption in Season 78

To tweak a popular phrase, the road to every championship begins with a tough setback. In the DLSU Green Archer’s case, three setbacks set up their path to redemption for UAAP Season 78.

Every title they won in a span of ten months from 2013 and 2014 was taken from them by both their UAAP (FEU) and NCAA (San Beda) archrivals in the last 10 months.

The losses that the Green Archers have suffered in the past few months were not limited to the championships that changed hands; the team that played in the preseason and toiled through practice is leaps and bounds different from the third-placers of Season 77 in both production and personnel. Yet even if more than half of the roster was not there last season, they are raring to bounce back from what seems to be a forgettable season of loss and heartbreak.

“Well yeah siyempre I felt that we fell short last year and we have to play better this year,” Jeron Teng simply said when asked about how last season ended.

“Well, [we’re] making sure we cover all aspects, then work on all those things that we see that needs to be improved on every day,” Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler mentioned when asked about what they work on in practice. “Hopefully [with] the 15 man lineup, all those will get to play and will be healthy the whole season.”

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Last season’s numbers

From the numbers alone, one can tell that the Green Archers will sorely miss the services of more than half of what comprised their roster for the past two seasons. DLSU will have to make up for the 33.8 points per game lost to the various players who have left the program, graduated, or will be out for the season due to injury or ineligibility. Teng, who averaged 18.1 points in the regular season, and Jason Perkins, who added 10.1 points, will still carry the scoring load for La Salle this season after losing veterans Almond Vosotros, Yuiten Andrada, and Norbert Torres to graduation.

The impact of their exit will be felt more on the defensive end as the team will lose 23.8 rebounds, more than half of the 44.9 they averaged in Season 77. Perkins and Teng may have combined for 17.8 rebounds but they can expect help from the likes of Abu Tratter and Prince Rivero, who will surely get more than the nine and 11.6 minutes they respectively played per game last season.


The Future

Robert Bolick, Terrence Mustre, Matt Salem, Andrada, Vosotros, Torres, and Arnold van Opstal have all left the team due to various reasons. Kib Montalbo and Ben Mbala will miss Season 78 because of injury and eligibility issues, respectively. In their place, DLSU will field nine rookies who have either been plying their trade in other schools or have earned their stripes in Team B.

“At least now we know on whether [Ben Mbala] was allowed to play or not,” Sauler said. “The earlier the better, so now you know who’s allowed to play and you can focus on that one rather than guessing who will be allowed or not.”

Among the rookies, it has been Andrei Caracut who has gotten most of the attention given how he seems to have gotten used to the system with his performances in the FilOil tournament. Along with Caracut, Jollo Go, Lorenzo Navarro, John Gob, Larry Muyang, Daryl Pascual, Josh Torralba, Leandro Joson, and Andrew Langston have made the most out of the practices and the tune up games to get accustomed to Sauler’s system and the college game as well.

The first time the Green Archers formally played together as a team was during the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup. Back in their first game against JRU, one would easily notice the rust in the veterans and the rookies trying to get a feel for the college game. Yet as the preseason progressed, certain players stood out while those in the crowd took notice of the upstart veterans who had improved after a year of seasoning and a summer of working in the gym.

“With the way I’ve seen them run during the everyday practices, they’ve all been working hard since they want to prove that they can play at the collegiate level,” Sauler mentioned when asked about his assessment of the rookies.

“Well, kami naman, we made the most out of what we have and we’re happy and contented with what we have now and confident na ako na magcocontribute yung rookies this season,” Teng adds.


Keeping up with the rest of the league

Even with their new additions, the rest of the league has also retooled their lineups with certain players set to return with bigger roles. UP’s Jett Manuel is set to return to the squad after a stint in the States while FEU’s Mac Belo will look to build on the Gilas experience he had gained during his time with Rivero in the SEA Games.

Unlikely as it may seem, motivation is more likely to come from setbacks rather than success. Perhaps it’s the feeling of complacency or the notion that one wants to get over the pain and move on. If the way DLSU’s season ended last year was any indication, this season will be another unpredictable roller coaster ride that will only be settled once the victor has been crowned. And with the time the teams have been given to prepare, expect everyone to be on top of their game. However, with the way things are turning out for the Green Archers, expect them to come back with a vengeance this season.

“All the teams are going to be back,” Sauler responded when asked about this season’s top contenders. “You’ll never know in the UAAP. Sometimes a team will start very well all of a sudden will fall in the second round. There are teams that might not start very well. You’ll never know.”

Gio Gloria

By Gio Gloria

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