Just like last season, the De La Salle University Green Archers will be heading to Kaohsiung, Taiwan and joining the Buddha Light International Association Cup. But unlike last year, the Green Archers are looking to use this tournament as a way to build camaraderie among the team and strengthen the bond between the student-athletes and the coaches.
“Again, it’s learning e,” mused first-year Green Archers head coach Louie Gonzalez, reflecting on their preseason campaign so far.
“We’re still in the process pa rin namin eh. Especially eto, yung experience namin sa FilOil, yung mga losses talagang medyo masasakit eh. We were put on a spot na pwedeng manalo,” he added as La Salle ended their campaign with a quarterfinals loss to the Far Eastern University last Thursday.
“Then again, wala talagang shortcut sa programa. Kailangan mo talaga daanin, kailangan mo maramdaman yung pain of losing kasi from there, alam ko na magra-rise yung mga players ko eh. From there, mas magiging mature sila.”
Composing the team’s lineup for the tournament are Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, Justine Baltazar, Jollo Go, Santi Santillan, Taane Samuel, Brandon Bates, Joaqui Manuel, Mark Dyke, Gabe Capacio, Ian Herrera, Neil Tolentino, Miggy Corteza, and Christian Manaytay.
Team captain Kib Montalbo is joining the team but will not be fielded in the tournament, as he is still nursing an injury.
With plenty of new faces to integrate, Gonzalez is hoping that the team will have a lot of “shared moments” that they can build on for their UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball campaign. The team arrived in Taiwan on Sunday afternoon.
“This is really big. Kasi aside from game elements, yung shared moments mahalaga eh.
“Especially itong team na ‘to, madaming bago ko eh, na from different cultures – some from high school, dalawa galing sa ibang bansa,” shared Gonzalez. “So I’ll take the opportunity as well na gumawa ng mga activities na mas makilala nila yung sarili nila, kasi sabay-sabay eh. It’s the culture eh, kumbaga.
“Even ngayon, ‘di ba binabago ko yung culture namin sa La Salle, so lahat talaga hanging pa. Wala pa kaming definite. We’re still adjusting on so many things.”
Calling the shots with Gonzalez are assistant coaches Glenn Capacio, Siot Tanquincen, Anton Altamirano, and Karl Santos.
The Green Archers will take on Tsinghua University on Tuesday; Nagoya Gakuin University on Wednesday; Chien Hsin University of Science & Technology on Thursday; and Azusa Pacific University on Friday.
Last year, La Salle defeated French squad Universite de Lyon, 93-74, to complete a five-game sweep of the pocket tournament.