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The De La Salle community is pregnant with anticipation lately. Of course, our main sports agenda is women’s volleyball. Looooooong delayed. By a “phantom” viral threat allegedly started by a coughing spree. Hahaha. Bahala sila.

But hold your horses. Put that aside first, controversy and all. The PBA D League Collegiate Conference just started and the De La Salle Green Archers just unvailed a new team. A sky scraping team. A tireless defensive team.

Of course. What did you expect? You get a guy named Pumaren to coach you and if you expected otherwise, your as dumb as a doornail.

And we got the Pumaren who gave us our first UAAP championship and our first three peat. No I didn’t make a mistake. That third championship was won on the court. That’s a three peat. Taking it away from us was a boardroom decision wasn’t it? Again, bahala sila. Hahaha.

You can see that the team framework is now there. I actually saw glimpses of the recent champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Well the other side might cringe on this statement. “Yeah right” I can just see them react, to which I will reply “just wait”. Hahaha. Controversy this early. Don’t you miss it?

Seriously, though, my statement is just basketball look based, nothing to demean them nor hype us up. Well not yet. November is still a long ways out and Jo Mari Chan is still on vacation with Santa Claus.

The statement emphasizes our defensive look. It is now more aggressive. It involves a lot of the signature Pumaren press, but more importantly, the aggressive defensive guards can now gamble on double teams, steal attempts, and trapping.

Why? Just like Ateneo, we now have a backline presence who can stop the ball at the rim, to allow our aggressive guards to recover on defense if the trap doesn’t initially work.

First of course is our foreign player, Hamadou Ndiaye. Initially, he is not as efficient a shot blocker as Kouame, but he still stops the ball and changes shots at the rim. Well he had two blocks and a double double game. But he is an effective defensive rebounder and this now goes to our next improved look. Fastbreaking.

Yes it’s back. The difference of this year’s fastbreak to last year’s is it’s origin. Our fastbreak now comes from a defensive stop. Last year, it was merely to speed up the game. In other words, our team now has structure and identity. Defense fuels our offense.

This look is important to our personnel now. It allows our very talented defensive guards to shine. Primarily, Joshua David and Jordan Bartlett. And we didn’t even use Kurt Lojera.

I am telling you boldly right now. This triumvirate of guards will give us championships. That’s as bold a statement as can be. Really.

And what about Kameron Vales? Hahaha. Watch out!!!! In the local parlance “sukat na sukat pa ang laro”. Bold prediction number 2. We have our next Mike Cortez!! Misdirection, shovel passing, three point shooting, press breaking, C’mon!!! You can’t see it?

The net effect now is that everybody is now playing relaxed. Performance is now balanced. Look at the box scores. Aljun Melecio is now exclusively playing off guard, allowing him to come off screens instead of dribbling to create.

Justin Baltazar also, is almost exclusively playing the four spot. He, together with Melecio, will enjoy a banner year this season. Both of them are free to wreak havoc and have enough bench time to be effective at the end game.

Our three spot is now very solid and tall with Glue men Joaqui Manuel, Ralph Cu, and even Tyrus Hill, who is now in shape.

And there are a couple of names still anticipated to contribute heavily to our future campaigns. Let’s hold that information for the time being.

Guys, temper your excitement. We are not there yet. For instance, allowing an import less and Muyang less Letran Knights 90 points and late game fightbacks show that the machine is still not well oiled. Coach Pumaren said so and he’s right.

But make no mistake about it. What we have now is top class machinery. It’s in the hands now of our machine operators. They have a lot of time to get used to the controls. Let them.

In the meantime, we have another class A machinery about to be unveiled this week. Very very young and promising. But make no mistake about it. That machine operator does not need to get used to the controls. He designed it. And to their haters and bashers, BAHALA KAYO.

Exciting times ahead. Good luck Green Archers and Lady Spikers. Animo La Salle.

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