Whenever a new collegiate season comes along, there is always excitement for the new blood coming in to reinvigorate each team.
For the De La Salle University Lady Archers, one of the rookies to watch out for is Kent Jane Pastrana, who hails from Silay City, Negros Occidental.
Before entering the storied halls of La Salle, she has competed in the prestigious Palarong Pambansa as well as international tournaments such as the ASEAN School Games and the International Basketball Federation Under-18 Mixed 3×3 Youth Leadership Cup.
With a resume like that, one would expect Pastrana to be full of confidence going into the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“For now, medyo kinakabahan ako kasi first time ko pumunta dito tapos mag-aral dito sa La Salle,” she said. “Yung pagiging student-athlete ay mas mahirap kasi kailangan mo i-manage yung time mo sa pag-aaral tapos sa training. Yung importante ay pag-aaral yung kailangan i-pokus.”
Pastrana and the rest of the Lady Archers have been in the thick of their preparations coming into the new campaign. The Cholo Villanueva-mentored squad competed in the Fr Martin’s Cup, Breakdown Basketball Invitationals and even flew to Xiamen, China, to compete in the 2019 Xiamen International Tournament.
Particularly, the Xiamen trip taught Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School alumna that neophytes like her can step up to drive the team forward into the right direction.
“Ang natutunan ko sa Xiamen ay bilang isang atleta kailangan maging isang lider ng team kahit rookie ka lang. Kailangan mo mag step-up, kailangan mong gawin lahat ng trabaho na makakaya mo para makatulong sa team at maging confident sa sarili ko at hindi kabahan.”
With a lengthy pre-season behind her, the national team standout emphasized that college basketball is a different animal compared to the grassroots competed in for her school and for flag and country. In terms of her on-the-court adjustment, this is where the coaching staff comes in.
“Sa coaches, marami na akong natututunan kasi mino-motivate ako ng mga coaches tapos parang nababawasan ang mga kaba ko inside the court. Medyo kinakabahan dahil ibang level na ang laro,” she said and added that being street-wise on the court and executing well on both ends of the floor are the things she needs to do and improve on.
Now that the likes of Camille Claro and Khate Castillo have graduated, Pastrana is expected to take up a key role in scoring buckets for the team and she promises to give 100 percent for La Salle throughout Season 82.
“Ang maibibigay ko ay lahat ng effort ko, lahat ng pwede kong i-contribute sa team para maipanalo lang (ang mga laro) at gagawin ko lahat ng makakaya ko. Sa lahat ng manonood diyan, nagpapasalamat ako dahil sinusuportahan niyo kami at gagawin namin ang lahat para makapasok sa Final Four.”
The Lady Archers open their campaign against the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons on September 4, 2019, 10:00 AM, at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion.