With the dawn of a new UAAP Men’s Football Tournament campaign upon us, the pressure is on once again for the De La Salle University-Manila Men’s Football Team to reclaim a championship last won in 1998.
Leading the team’s charge towards the holy grail is Jed Diamante, who follows the footsteps of his older brothers Gio and Gelo as captain of the Green and White on the pitch. The Ateneo de Davao high school alumnus understands the tough task at hand and is determined to do everything he can to drag his team towards the finish line.
Diamante sat down with GoArchers and share how he and his teammates have fared in preparation for Season 81 alongside some personal insights.
How has pre-season been for the squad?
Yung preparation namin started with the pre-season tournaments. This year madami kaming sinalihan like the Ang Liga, the Pilipinas Cup, the cup in Sagay and so far the team has been performing (well). We saw how the rookies started gelling with the team so ngayon may cohesiveness na yung team.
Yung sa Ang Liga we placed first, yung sa Sagay, second place, and then yung sa Pilipinas Cup, we placed third. So at least, lahat ng sinalihan naming pre-season tourneys, may podium finish kami and medyo ok naman yung performance.
Apart from the on-pitch preparations, meron din kaming mga off-pitch preparations like how we managed to bring everyone together. Parang everyone has this positive attitude towards playing for each other. Yung chemistry din off-pitch was also developed throughout the preparations.
How has the team developed compared from your earlier years up to now?
From the three years na nalaro ko sa UAAP, parang every year may mga development, not only off-pitch but also talaga yung chemistry ng team. Nung first year ko, what we were trying to build was the positivity.
Nung sa second year (Season 79), what we tried to improve on was the chemistry of the team. Again, using the positivity na idea.
Ngayon, it’s not that we’re just trying to put it in but it’s embedded in the system ng team. We were able to bring yung off-pitch na mindset na yun on to the pitch tapos ngayon everyone has just been motivating to play better, play well, pushing each other forward. Yun yung nakikita ko that will really propel us forward sa UAAP, more on the mindset namin as a cohesive and positive team.
How is life as the captain of the DLSU Men’s Football Team?
Being a captain, I don’t really see it as something I can really be proud of. I see it more as a responsibility on how to handle the new players coming in, how to bring the team together. So as a responsibility, I see it as an opportunity to impart yung knowledge ko as a senior dun sa mga bata. Yun talaga yung goal ko as a captain. I really wanna bring everyone together para makatulong yung cohesion ng team sa development namin sa UAAP ngayon.
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What do you think are your biggest attributes as the leader of the team?
Bringing people together atsaka being able to look for solutions to different problems kasi iba-iba yung pinagdadaanan ng team and it’s important for me and the other seniors helping me to think of a quick solution para maayos agad yung mga kailangan ayusin.
Yung patience is really a key in trying to lead a team because our team is composed of many players. We’re around 40 to 50 players. Again, it’s the patience of handling different personalities. It’s also trying to be someone everyone can be with and it’s not much of asking them to respect me but showing them I can lead by example.
How is the morale of the team heading into Season 81?
We’re really positive. We’re really excited to play. Yun lang talaga. For the past months, we’ve been trying to really work hard on our positivity towards training, towards the games and towards interacting with each other.
What does the team hope to achieve this year?
For this season, we want to be part of the top four but we don’t want to stay sa fourth place. Hopefully we go beyond yung fourth place na yun and what I can say na difference nitong team na to from last year is that it’s a completely different team. We have 13 rookies in our UAAP lineup this year so talagang it’s a new generation of players coming in.
We’re really happy and excited because yung mga players na nakuha namin for this year are all talented and exceptional. We’re excited to see what they can give for the DLSU community and it really showed sa mga pre-season tournaments namin that they’re really willing to fight for the Green and White.
What is your message, as captain, to the Lasallian community?
I’m sure they will see a different kind of team this year because there will be a lot of rookies bringing in a different type of football also sa Lasallian system. Although we’ll still be using the same system, it will be a different set of talents trying to incorporate themselves into the system. Hopefully, we will go past beyond that 4th place. We’re really aiming to go all the way. I think that’s something they can be excited about and I hope they can support us because we need that support from the community.