While the alumni team, coached by Vice-mayor Francis Zamora, clearly ran out of gas for most of the second half in yesterday’s charity game at the Enrique Razon Sports Complex, losing 93-79 to the current men’s basketball team before an encouragingly thick crowd of supporters, there were enough reasons to know that these former Taft warriors came to seriously play.
The first thing that always catches my eye each time I step out of the elevator on the 9th floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Center and head towards the basketball court are the banners honoring all the past triumphs of the Green Archers and the individuals who have fully exemplified the traits of a Lasallian champion.
I don’t know for certain if in between poring through the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche and Viktor Frankl, or getting giddy about film masterpieces such as Cinema Paradiso, Coach Juno Sauler has read Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball, wherein Isiah Thomas reveals the secret of basketball to be more than just about basketball.
While the Green Archers’ current love affair with the championship has been anything but smooth so far this season–in fact taking a melodramatic turn with much off court noise both preceding and leading up to last Sunday’s loss against the FEU Tamaraws–there can be no counting out Coach Juno Sauler and his boys just yet.
If it walks like a champion and defends like a champion and shares the ball like a champion…then it’s definitely the De La Salle Green Archers you’re referring to.
The only thing to match the gruesomeness of the final four minutes of yesterday’s game, wherein the UE Red Warriors’ counter-comeback from a 10-point deficit placed the Green Archers in a must-win situation on Saturday to secure at least a playoff berth for the second spot in the Final Four, are the various message boards that bore the brunt of the Lasallian faithful’s ire.
As I woke up from well deserved sleep, with thoughts of checking FanDuel, and only half recovered from the Green Archers’ heart-pounding win over a UST Growling Tigers team fighting for its final four life, there was one basketball sequence that vividly resurfaced in my mind.
It has been three days since the Green Archers’ lackluster 66-57 win over the Adamson Falcons, all of which have been spent mostly basking in Gilas glory and trying to run through as many adjectives as I could to appropriately describe the team’s uninspired performance on that humdrum of a Sunday I nearly ended up entitling this piece “Fifty Shades of Dreary.” There would be no difficulty in rattling off a laundry list of how that strange lack of intensity concretely manifested itself throughout the game: the 13 fast break points of Adamson (compared to La Salle’s 6) which reflected a more energetic Falcons offense capitalizing on the lack of transition defense; feisty Adamson actually winning the rebounding battle 50-49; or that 23-8 La Salle lead after the first quarter which once again got cut down hastily, turning what should’ve rightfully been a blowout into a relatively close game that
Well over a day after the Green Archers’ ugly loss to the FEU Tamaraws, there are still a few rattling images I can’t seem to get out of my head.
In the quest for title retention, the formula is deceivingly simple and unconventional in nature for Coach Juno Sauler and the De La Salle Green Archers: Allow tremendous hype to build up around them as early as the postseason while not allowing any of it to penetrate the team’s psyche, lose the first two games of the season with shades of struggle and disarray, then slowly rack up a 6-game winning streak while dealing with injuries to two starters and their respective backups, and consequently using a bulk of inexperienced players at the forefront.