Now at the helm of the Green Archers, head coach Louie Gonzalez stressed that he shall continue to adhere to the defensive philosophy of his predecessor but with a lot of emphasis on discipline.
Oh, yes. Discipline. To be honest, this is something the team was not able to show on a consistent basis last season. And such lapses on defense cost us the championship. Who could not forget that 7-point swing by Ateneo in the final seconds of the first half in Game 3. Imagine what could have been the outcome had the Green Archers not been careless and made the right stops at that point in the game.
Clearly, talent is not an issue. The team has shown that they can comeback from huge deficits and are capable of massive scoring runs. But relying on individual skills can only take you so far that other teams will eventually find the right schemes to beat you. It is evident that there was something in their game that was holding them back and it is good that coach Louie pointed out not only discipline but also the need to play collectively as a unit.
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“We’ll undergo a transformation as a team. We won’t compromise when it comes to enforcing discipline. We want hard work and effort but with guys playing together as a unit. Our ultimate objective is to win back the championship and if everyone surrenders to the system, we can do it.”
“Mayhem” no longer comes as a surprise to the opposing teams and they have already found a way to break it. Gonzales looks to make serious changes to the team’s defensive system but this time, it will not be branded by any label. Mayhem will forever be associated with Aldin Ayo.
“Kasi ‘yung Mayhem, I don’t want to take that away from Aldin. That’s his brand. It (La Salle) will be a team pa rin that plays with effort. I want to focus on that. The effort and the discipline,”
But whatever name you call it, Gonzales can’t emphasize the importance of defense enough. “I believe na when you defend, magko-compete ka in any level. It’s effort and skills. ‘Yun ang order niya. Basta may effort and skills, it makes the job easier”
Coach Louie acknowledges the pressure that comes with being the head coach of perhaps the most popular collegiate team with a very rabid and passionate fanbase. He is very much up to the challenge and thanks team management for the opportunity and trust given to him.
“Gonzalez is thankful for the opportunity given to him by La Salle and its team patron Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco, who spoke to him about the job on December 30. “It’s a chance na hindi ko inexpect. I asked for guidance kay Lord and sa family ko. Nag-agree naman kami. That’s why I took the job,” said Gonzalez. “He (Cojuangco) told me na, ‘May tiwala ako sa ‘yo.’ That’s good enough para ituloy ko ‘yung programa. I’m grateful sa tiwala niya tapos sumunod na ‘yung mga managers. I’m grateful for that,”
The road to redemption begins on January 16 when the team regroups for their first practice session of the year.
Featured photo from sportsillustrated.com.ph