Home Blog Page 3

The Legend of Manong Derrick Pumaren

0
This article first appeared on Rektikano.com and was re-posted with permission.

by Neal Tieng

(Special thanks to George Gonzales, team statistician during this golden era of La Salle basketball who gave very crucial insights relevant to this article. Salamat Tito George!)

The fireworks ushered in 2020 with every single Filipino was hoping for a better year. Starting a new year, a fresh decade, people usually try to cast off the bad vibes and disappointments of the past and look forward to what comes next, while resolving to learn from the past and do better.

Some things remained undone

But moving forward isn’t always that simple. Some things that were left undone from last year carried over to the new decade. For example, the head coaching position of the DLSU Green Archers.

Other teams had been making moves right after the UAAP basketball season had ended. Every news item about another UAAP school felt like dabbing alcohol into a fresh wound.  Most green-blooded titos from every part of the country would always say, “buti pa sila, tayo nga wala pang coach”.

And so the new decade rolled in amid fireworks, greetings, and fresh hope. But the coaching position remained vacant.

Soon, they said.

Surprise!!!

There were some murmurs on the coaching candidates.  Some names were floated, but the name that survived the online chatter was Derrick Pumaren.  As the releases said, not everyone was happy.

WHAT? WHY?

Derrick was a champion…. 30 years ago. Old school. Can he still coach at this level?

<Flashback. The first Green Archer UAAP trophy was transferred from the Rizal Memorial Coliseum to the College Canteen of La Salle in 1989, a good three decades ago.  Those who were there to witness that historical event will still recall the moment FEU’s Andy De Guzman whacked Joey Sta. Maria across the face in frustration in the waning seconds of that game have reached their golden 50s.>.

So …. Does he still have what it takes?

Some argue that after Derrick’s stint in the professional league, and his subsequent return to coaching the UE Red Warriors and the CEU Scorpions, that his finest days as a head coach are in the past.

But … this is still a Pumaren.  That family name has delivered 7 of La Salle’s 9 UAAP basketball titles.  Derrick masterminded the first 2 while brother Franz gave 5 including a four-peat run from 1998 to 2001.

As we share what we know, let us take you back on a stroll through numbers and history.

The lost years

After leaving the NCAA in the late 1970s to escape the growing on-and-off court violence, La Salle was in limbo sports-wise.  The Green Archers were still a team, but had nothing to really fight for. Joining the minor leagues left and right did not create much excitement.

La Salle had become a quieter sports-loving institution after the NCAA wars and was living peaceful days.  Not much to get excited about. No sports idols to cheer on. Even La Salle Green Hills stars such as Llewelyn Mumar, Joey Guanio and Eric Reyes left to play in the UAAP schools rather than stay in La Salle with to really play for.

Drifting along in a sporting vacuum may be peaceful, but it’s definitely boring. The cheers were starting to be forgotten, moves of the Cheer Leaders (since renamed The Pep Squad) were fading away. But it’s not easy to quiet those competitive juices.

The clamor to find a league grew. Under a lot of pressure from the student body and alumni, the administration finally took the application to the UAAP seriously and entered the league.  Since erstwhile coach Joaqui Trillo was clearly not ready to elevate La Salle into contenders in a major league, he turned over the keys to the team to a former DLSU point guard Frederick Pumaren, who was then just starting to do some coaching in amateur ball.

Entering the league as a newbie addressed the aimlessness of having a team with no home league. But it created different pressures. Lose, and the management can always use the “bago pa lang kami” excuse card.

When the UAAP board formally accepted La Salle and the floodgates were opened. We had something to play and cheer for!

Then reality hit.

What team could La Salle field to compete with the powerhouses of the UAAP?

Did Derrick Pumaren rock the 80s? (and we don’t mean his outfits)

The few who remember Derrick Pumaren as a Green Archer guard will remember his intensity. He didn’t really get much floor time, but when he was on the court, he was 100% committed. He did not want to lose.  His pride was too strong to allow that. No way.

Drafting his first line-up, Derrick Pumaren submitted a virtual line-up full of national team stars who have donned La Salle colors in the early 80s. In the list were national players and some who were on the 1980 PABL champion teams.  But the moment the UAAP eligibility committee got hold of this line-up, they raised eligibility issues.

That lineup would have rocked the boat. Nothing doing.

Pumaren was left to scramble to assemble a new line-up as the season was coming.

“They are against us.  They don’t want us to win”, Pumaren fumed while sitting on a chair in the athletics office in the St. Athanasius Gym.

Still there was hope.  Pumaren got the green light to include younger brother Franz and national team back up center and hook-shot specialist Tonichi Yturri in the lineup. They had some credentials, having trained with fellow Archers Dignadice, Uichico, Almario, Alfarero, et al on the national team. On paper the team looked like a possible Batman and Robin tandem which could rattle the UAAP. But then again, maybe not. A title might be a dream but a podium finish would not be a bad start.

Early enrollment in the early school of hard knocks

Reality check. Some stuff you learn the hard way.

It did not take too long before Pumaren realized that you need a solid 10-man rotation to compete in a competitive field filled with dominant bigs and pure shooters.

In a league which developed solid names like Allan Caidic, Pido Jarencio, Jerry Codinera, Gido Babilonia, Rabbi Tomacruz, Ernesto Hojilla, Silverio Palad, Louie Alas, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, Benjie Paras, Jun Reyes among many, you need a really deep bench to beat these guys of this calibre.  Or at least a really good 10-man rotation.

La Salle’s season one record was tough, ending with a 4-10 tally by beating NU and Adamson twice but being swept by the rest.

Despite the losing season, there was hope.  La Salle was never blown out of the water by any team even as a newbie, not even by the heavyweights.  In most games, the Green Archers would keep the game close within 5 points and get outlasted at the end when the team would be stifled with a defensive wall.

The team didn’t finish at the bottom, and was competitive, so there was some room for optimism. But to be a champion? Unlikely.

<Fast forward to today. Anyone who thinks that Derrick can’t assemble a champion team just has to look at what he did in those early years. That didn’t happen by chance>.

Derrick Pumaren the master architect and builder

Rebuilding is Pumaren’s “alas”, or secret card.  Despite having reliables Franz Pumaren and Yturri on the team, Derrick began reloading his roster early.  He put his recruiting hat on.

His targets were always the dominant athletic players from other leagues.  One of Derrick’s target was eventual PBA star Nelson Asaytono who was slamming 360s with the University of Manila squad in some minor tournaments. Didn’t work.

When the Asaytono transfer did not pan out, Derrick hooked in the high flying Johnedel Cardel and gangling center Jun Limpot to bolster his roster.

What kind of a team did he have?

La Salle had holdover Joey Sta. Maria, a master in drop-step pivot moves with a deadly mid-range J, brother Dindo Pumaren who is a master point guard and can zoom from backcourt to front court in 2 seconds and can drain a 15-foot jumper in transition.

Derrick Pumaren loved the shooters from the flanks.  Being a diligent student of the late national coach legend Ron Jacobs, Pumaren favored pure catch-and-shoot forwards with the ability to drain that corner 3 and stretch that D.  Among the players whose skills were honed to the letter were Eddie Viaplana, Raffa Dinglasan and even Joaqui Garcia.  It was very similar to the way Coach Jacobs utilized the likes of Chip Engelland and Alfie Almario to spread the floor, opening the interior for the low post guys to operate freely.

Adding riflemen who can drain it from deep, a point guard that can slash as well as pull up from mid-range and a couple of post-up guy is the usual recipe for the Pumaren title-contention formula.  When all the pieces were complete, Limpot and Sta. Maria at the post, Cardel slashing and pulling up while Viaplana and Dinglasan taking turns burning the net from the distance, La Salle was primed to compete.

But some dreams don’t come true, at least not when we want them to. La Salle repeated their 6th place finish in 1987. But there was real hope that a better result would follow. After all, some things take time.

Changing the UAAP landscape – from newbie to the finals in just 3 years

Derrick Pumaren was not only an architect and a builder, he proved to be a very good landscaper as well.

After the Archers managed repeat 6th place finishes in their first two years in the league, their third season saw them march to the finals against Ateneo. It was the first time in more than 14 years that La Salle and Ateneo squared off in the finals of a tournament. But the Archers failed to capture the title in the finals series.

Despite all the build up, why did La Salle lose to Ateneo?

It was because that Ateneo team was too darned DEEP.  For one, Ateneo had two dominant towers manning the paint.  Danny Fransisco, who easily could have been one of the most dominating centers of all time, teamed up with Alex Araneta and was backed up by former LSGH Greenie Eric Reyes. Mix this with lethal wing shooters / slashers in Emerito Chuatico, Reinier Jongco and Joseph Nieto, plus a deadly duo of speed demon guards in Jun Reyes and Olsen Racela, you have a team that is extremely tough to beat.

This blue team could beat you in transition and were equally as dominant in slow-ball. They were too good and La Salle was still too raw, too inexperienced.  For most of the Green Archers, it was too much too soon.

But even with the disparity in experience and talents, the game went down to the final seconds, ending with Dindo Pumaren sailing into the sunset of his UAAP career with a towel on his bowed head.

Some things you really have to learn the hard way. Especially if no one has done it before.

The recovery – assembling the winning pieces

The pain of losing to their arch-rival in the biggest stage of collegiate basketball became the motivator.    Derrick used the words PRIDE as his battle cry in motivating his squad while drilling his team into shape during the off-season. He continued to develop his players, and was rewarded when Limpot surprised everyone when he finished as MVP in the old Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) as part of the champion Magnolia squad which he also coached.  And amidst all these, Derrick Pumaren continued reloading his line-up with the necessary pieces.

Teddy Monasterio, the first major San Beda Red Cub recruit, sharpened his handles and to eventually become the point guard of Green Archers future while the development of Colegio de San Agustin recruit Dicky Bachmann progressed significantly every year.

Derrick was always in the lookout for grassroots talents.  In an off-season move, Pumaren snagged LSAL star Gelacio Abanilla to be the back-up point guard; Abanilla would eventually bail out the Green Archers in Game 1 of the finals with the game clinching basket via drive down the middle.

Derrick Pumaren was the first coach to employ a structured offensive approach during the era of match-up one-on-one basketball.  Conventional thinking among most UAAP coaches then was to employ the Baby Dalupan principles, “tapat-tapat lang”, and deploying their players was like a chess match.  Focus was on individual talents and plays were designed accordingly.

Pumaren went in a different direction. He focused on team play. Back-cuts and open looks primed by a low double-screens were already a staple in the Pumaren offensive sets back then. Think how similar plays used screens like that to free up Ray Allen in the NBA. Plays that were choreographed to involve all five players on the floor, properly timed with the shot clock in mind. That was how Pumaren ran his offense, fluid and purposeful. And effective.

He kept opponents off guard with a variety of defenses: straight man-to-man, matchup zone, 1-3-1 zone, the works. Opponents couldn’t tell what offense to set up because he mixed up his defenses all the time. Opponents found it difficult to get any sort of offensive rhythm against his teams. Unpredictability and surprise were his tactics, and boy did they work.

Coaching Xs and Os. And more.

Before analytics became a thing, Pumaren was already a numbers guy.  During half time huddles, players were called out for turnovers, rebounds (or lack of), and shooting efficiency, although he used a completely different term back then. His plays were structured based on known data, not just gut feel or simple observation.

But there was one thing that made Pumaren different from the other coaches. Beyond the numbers and putting in the necessary pieces, Derrick Pumaren bled green. The guy preached pride being a La Sallite/ La Sallian in an era when that pride was challenged by a lack of success. That is why Coach Derrick and then team manager Popoy Dinglasan made a perfect pair.  Both breathed and preached pride and advocated unrelenting hard work on the floor.

During one awful loss due to lack of effort, the late Popoy Dinglasan and Pumaren lectured the players on the value of playing hard and how life was an interconnected whole. They locked the team inside the dugout for more than 2 hours just to deliver and instill the message “the hustle you have on-court will translate to your attitude outside the court, life and studies”. That’s an unusual post-game speech. They were deep insights, but they did resonate with the players at that time.

“Sasabihin ni coach, La Sallista ka pa naman tapos ganyan ka maglaro” reminisces former DLSU Green Archers stat guru George Gonzales. He also shared the cringe whenever a no-name player would score off an established star. “Dindo, nalusutan ka niyan?”. No excuses allowed.

Pumaren was intense and fiery. No sugarcoating, no big brother approach. He would reprimand players in no uncertain terms. Yes, even his youngest brother was not spared from the rage of Derrick Pumaren during games and even in practice. Slack off and you get an earful.

Derrick the planner

Did I say Derrick was/is a planner?

Even as he prepped the 1989 Archers for their season, he was laying out the foundation for future seasons.  While the Green Archers were deep in competition that year, Pumaren was already in full reload getting talents like the Lago brothers, Dwight and Elmer, Tonyboy Espinosa, and Noli Locsin, all of whom would play critical roles as stalwarts in their title chases of 1990 and 1991.

History tells us that after the crushing disappointment of 1988, Derrick prepared for the future, not just the next season. Reloading with talents, exemplary management of current rosters and succession management were all the components of Derrick Pumaren’s success with La Salle.

And he was proven right when his teams took the 1989, 1990, and 1991 titles. Our first 3-peat. But in 1991 after the Green Archers had won the 3rd and deciding playoff game on court and celebrated the championship, the UAAP board pinned an officiating error on La Salle by forcing a rematch. The school refused to show up for the replay, and FEU stole the title via a 2-0 score.

A parting of ways

In the ideal world, this should have spurred Pumaren to go for vindication in 1992. But circumstances dictated otherwise.

After experiencing tremendous success and becoming the gold standard of collegiate coaching during that era, he was given a different, taller mountain to climb.

While serving as DLSU coach, Derrick was also an assistant coach in San Miguel under Norman Black. His success as Green Archer coach and his apprenticeship under Ron Jacobs and Norman Black led to an offer to coach a team in the PBA. A major factor in the decision was the new PBA ruling that a PBA head coach could not have the same role in another league.

Tough decision. Stay or go? Big league or collegiate league?

The PBA already had the luster and the fame that while the UAAP was just on its way to becoming the glamour league it is today.

The lure of becoming a PBA head coach is definitely difficult to ignore. Derrick Pumaren had a tough decision. But it was a definite step up.  So in 1991 after winning their “3rd straight crown”, Derrick left La Salle to pursue a bigger dream to coach a new squad in the PBA, the Pepsi Cola Bottlers, leaving his trusted lieutenant Gabby Velasco to take over as Green Archer coach.

The years that followed

History tells us that FEU, which won the 1991 title in the boardroom, went on take the 1992 title, followed by the 4-peat of UST, another FEU championship in 1997, before Pumaren (this time Franz) engineered a 4-year domination from 1998 to 2001. Just as Derrick pioneered the structured, data-based coaching, Franz introduced the Pumaren Press, which terrorized opposing teams for years.

But that’s another story altogether.

There were a few people who changed the landscape of the UAAP, and Coach Derrick Pumaren was certainly one of them. He drove a paradigm shift in collegiate coaching, and in so doing, helped to chart a new direction for college basketball.

So, can he repeat his success of 30 years ago?

Derrick Pumaren will try to repeat what he did three decades ago, return to the basics while doing something different. Coaching techniques have changed over the years, with information technology and data-driven analysis driving the trends. Things Derrick pioneered so may years ago when he first coached La Salle are common place today.

And other teams have taken it to a whole new level. For example, Ateneo has a virtual army of laptop, videocam, and tablet-equipped assistant coaches and analysts occupying the row behind their bench during games, providing the coach with data and insights into what’s happening in a game on a real-time basis. In fact, some suspect that the Blue Eagles have more support staff than they have players in the lineup. Unusual? But hey, it’s brought them back-to-back titles, and they’re arguably on top of the Philippine collegiate basketball hierarchy today.

Derrick will need to bring the organization up to speed to match what competition is already doing. And he’ll have to innovate in the same manner he did so many years ago if he wants to duplicate his success in leapfrogging the competition.

So will he replicate his success back then by writing a whole great new chapter in the Green Archers UAAP story? It’s a story he started way back in 1986. Can he continue the next installment this year?

Just like the Terminator, he’s back.

And one thing is sure, just like in 1986, he means business.

This article first appeared on Rektikano.com and was re-posted with permission.

The Green Archers’ Top 12 Plays of the Decade

0

We witnessed a lot of memorable highlight plays this decade that we rounded up what we feel are the top 12.

Our basis for selection is simple – did it get you out of your seat? Did you stand up and shouted at the arena or in TV as it happened?

Amazing, inspiring and absoulutely breathtaking – these are the best plays from the De La Salle Green Archers in the 2010s.

12. Ricci Rivero’s back-to-back slam dubks (2017)

11. Ferdinand’s in-your-face throwdown (2010)

10. Justine Baltazar’s fastbreak jam (2018)

9. The best of Jamie Malonzo’s aerial act (2019)

8. Joseph Marata’s timely threes down stretch (2010)

7. Joshua Torralba with the go-ahead three (2015)

6. Jeron Teng at the buzzer (2012)

5. Ben Mbala’s nasty put-back (2016)

4. Jeron calls game (2013)

3. Almond Vosotros’ shining moment in thr finals (2013)

2. Jeron is Mr. Clutch as always (2016)

1. “The Dunk” (2016)

Best Steal and Assist

Best Block

The Green Archers 2010’s All-Decade Team

0

For the De La Salle men’s basketball team, the 2010s was indeed a wild ride for everyone. It was decade that saw some incredible highs and of course, some disappointing lows. Nevertheless, it has still produced a lot of fond memories for the school community and fans.

The Green Archers started the decade in rebuilding mode, progressing back to a championship team towards the middle and early late part only to drift back to square one in the last two seasons. All-in-all, La Salle produced two championships, a runner-up finish, one back-to-back MVP, three rookie-of-year awardees and several mythical team selections.

With the decade coming to a close, here is a look at the top 10 Green Archers from the 2010-2019 seasons

A total of 74 players donned the green and white jersey from 2010 to 2019. So many great talent to choose from here. Just like our selection for the 2000s All-Decade Team 10 years ago, we made a poll and this time gave the opportunity to the hardcore Lasallian supporters of the Green Archers Nation Facebook group last October to vote who they feel should be included.

Check out the Green Archers 2000s All-Decade Team

The players to choose from in the poll must have played at least two seasons and did not transfer to another school/league.

Editor’s note: This is not an official honor bestowed by the university.

Top 10 Vote-Getters:

1. Ben Mbala (2016-2017)

Clearly the most dominant force the league has ever seen. Was named MVP is all the two seasons that he played for the Green Archers. He is the reason why the standard for selecting a foreign student athlete was upgraded from “just being tall”. It was just sad that his eligibility was cut short. Just imagine how far the team could have went had he played four full years?

2. Jeron Teng (2012-2016)

Rookie of year, two-time Finals MVP, Jeron already had the makings of being the team’s top gun the moment he stepped on the court for the first time in a La Salle uniform. He’s hit big shot after big shot during his 5-year tenure and the two championships that he led further cemented his place as one of the all-time greats.

3. Justine Baltazar (2016-2019)

After riding the bench in his first two seasons, Balti’s game has made a quantum leap which has resulted to consecutive inclusions in the UAAP mythical team. With one more year of eligibility left, he has only scratched the surface on the player that he will become.

4. Jason Perkins (2013-2016)

Mythical team awardee in 2013. Hefty Lefty was a physical presence on both ends and brought a little of everything on the table.

5. Aljun Melecio (2016-2019)

UAAP Season 79 Rookie of the Year. The guy is a true scorer in every sense of the word. Expect him to assume an active leadership role as he enters his final season in 2020.

6. Kib Montalbo (2013-2014, 2016-2018)

Known for his offense in high school, Kib made his mark as a defensive player with the Green Archers.

7. LA Revilla (2011-2013)

His stint with La Salle was defined by his remarkable comeback from a major illness which sidelined him for two years. The team would have not won the 2013 title if not for his steady leadership and savvy decision making.

almond vosotros

8. Almond Vosotros (2010-2014)

Almond went from a being a slasher-type guard to a dependable three-point shooter. Was stellar in a lot of playoff games and will be best remembered for hitting the go-ahead baseline jumper in the closing seconds of the 2013 finals.

9. Andrei Caracut (2015-2019)

Won rookie honors in 2015. It was not an easy transition for Andrei after being the main man back in his high school days. Despite playing for 4 different coaches, he was always ready to adjust to his role and did everything he could to help his team compete.

10. Leonard Santillan (2017-2018)

Though he only played for two years, Santi has filled in ably at the wing position. Was tasked to carry the cudgels for the team when they were hampered two seasons ago.

Honorable Mention:

Finished 11-15 in the polls:


Norbert Torres (2011-2014)


Thomas Torres (2012-2016)


Arnold Van Opstal (2011-2014)


Abu Tratter (2014-2017)


Yutien Andrada (2010-2012, 2014)

Was not included in the poll due to reasons stated above :


Jamie Malonzo (2019) – Mythical Team Awardee


Ricci Rivero (2016-2017) – Mythical Team Awardee

Kent Pastrana targets Final Four return after stellar rookie year

0

Before Kent Pastrana donned the Green and White jersey in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament, there was a lot talk about how much of a game-changer she would become for the De La Salle Lady Archers. 

And it is safe to say that she has lived up to the hype.

Even if she was just a neophyte to the UAAP, Pastrana averaged 16 points and six rebounds throughout the elimination round. Not bad for a rookie and her exploits have earned recognition throughout the league so much so that the Rookie of the Year award and a place in the Mythical Five were bestowed upon her.

First and foremost, I thank God for giving me the strength at syempre sa mga blessings na binigay Niya sakin and of course because of the help of my teammates and coaches. I am very thankful and I didn’t expect na makukuha yung (mga) award na ito. Sobrang thankful at sobrang saya ko,” she said.

Pastrana is part of a team that regards itself as a family, down from the coaches, players, team managers and even a loyal group of supporters who always make it a point to watch the squad’s exploits regardless if the games are in the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion in Manila, Ynares Center in Antipolo, SM MOA Arena in Pasay or the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Her achievements are simply a win in itself as well for those who supported her and the team all throughout the campaign.

Sobrang happy and proud po sila sa award na na-receive ko,” she said.

Unfortunately, though, Pastrana and the rest of the Lady Archers never got the chance to show their wares in the Final Four this season. It was the third consecutive year the team has missed out on the post-season slot. However, failures only yield lessons that can be applied for a strong comeback.

It hurts because we didn’t meet our goal of getting into the Final Four. And it will be a motivation for us na mas gagalingan pa namin lahat sa darating na Season 83,” she said. “As a Rookie of the Year and Mythical Five awardee, I was even more motivated by all the awards I received. And of course, I’ll work on it.

People say that next season starts once the last game of the year is played. For Pastrana, all the achievements and heartbreaks in Season 82 are done. All eyes are on Season 83 and the pressure’s on considering La Salle is the host for next season.

All I can say is, we will do our best to win every game to enter the Final Four. We will all work together in order to achieve our goal.

The Rise of the Green Archers: A Saga Summary

0

In this Men’s basketball season ending summary, I wanted to be as comprehensive as possible, not only to explain what happened but also guide us on our plans and actions next year. So guys, please bear with me. Let’s do analysis in it’s purest form. Breaking it down (that’s it’s literal meaning btw).

A. The Pre-season

Guys, if you are a true fan of the team and if you have the time, watch pre-season games. In every story or saga, there is a beginning, the body of the story, and the ending. This is one problem with the trolls and those that watch only during the season. When your comments are posted, I actually know who watches pre-season games or not. In other words, your storyline is not complete. You only watch the end saga, like Return of the Jedi or Return of the King.

In pre-season tournaments, we first get glimpses of our players in waiting. Players like Neil Tolentino (yes guys. UE’s pesky guard who was with us two seasons ago and killed us in that UE first round game, that crucial game), Christian Manaytay, Don Lim, Escandor, Ralph Cu, Joshua David (a Greenie with a pesky defense and a corner three, Paraiso 2.0). I will bet a significant number of you never heard of these names.

This is important because you get a glimpse of the player inventory, as well as the coaching philosophy, reactions to situations, player development, and a lot of other information. In scientific terms, it’s our laboratory to conduct experiments under a competition format. Scrimmages are totally different. This is just the preparation and planning phase.

And, what did these experiments yield this year? We finished runners-up to San Beda in the Fil-oil, and to NU in a pocket tournament in Davao. The results are actually unimportant but their finishes were very impressive because in the Filoil tournament, we were never complete at any given time, and the third tallest player after Brandon Bates and Justin Baltazar was Ralph Cu. I called it the team from Lilliput. In Davao, our one and dones played with the team for the first time.

B. The One and Dones and Recruitment Qualifications

As a perfect segueway, the Filoil tournament was to my mind, the tournament wherein management decided to search for our one and done players. That was why during the UAAP, I was surprised that some of the community were up in arms about this.

First of all, we were not the first team to use them. National University was and it was last year with Troy Rike. Nobody gave a hoot about that. But when we used it this year, there was an uproar, and it was amongst US, of all people.

Secondly, it was not the long term strategy of management. It was a band-aid solution to one problem. Length and height at the 4 and 5 spots. This was very evident during the Filoil tournament. BTW, we lost only two games in the Filoil, and they were against teams with very good, tall, and lengthy 4s and 5s.

Thirdly, remember that even in volleyball, these two years are the k12 batches. Remember Coach Ramil de Jesus also had to get a one and done player, Des Clemente, because his player inventory were completing their senior high school requirements. So, the recruitment supply directly from high school was not there, and getting filam one and dones was the fastest option.

Fourthly, recruiting local talent is a very challenging task for our school now, specially because of our very stringent academic requirements. Some know it alls will argue that we house most of our players in a course called sports management accusing it an “easy” course.

Well bash all you want because it’s a business course transcending to sports management as major. We all know how difficult a management course in La Salle is, specially the accounting, economics, and business management subjects. And teachers will not give it to you because you’re an athlete. Because of the academic challenges, the team has an Academics Coach in it’s employ. Btw the present one is a good friend.

Those in direct management of the team are free to correct my analysis. These are my observations, and I’m not part of management. But the point is I can surmise because I watch pre-season tournaments. You should as well.

C. Team Chemistry, Coach and Management Continuity

In an episode of Sports Desk of CNN hosted by Coach Charles Tiu, he usually asks the community if we have any questions to his guests, and this was the exact concern I raised for him to ask coaches JB and Gian, his guests for that day.

Well history has proven my concern correct as only one of our three one and dones assimilated well with the team. Guys, there are no shortcuts. It takes years to form a team, and only if a core is in place can continuity and consistency, and excellence can be enjoyed again. Coach Franz Pumaren was a pleasant exception, because he was a coach before his time. For those who remember, we were USTs favorite whipping boys at that time. So, let’s honor him for that.

Remember that even Ateneo suffered decades of trying to find the right coach for them, and they had an illustrious gallery of coaches. Imagine, the names of the Maestro, Baby Dalupan, Joe Lipa, Joel Banal, Sandy Arrespacochaga (who serves as assistant coach), finally with one coach that fit them, Norman Black, then an unsuccessful stint of Bo Perasol. Now they have another coach that fits them in Tab Baldwin. They suffer from the same toxic community as we have when they don’t win. Well, enough of them.

The point is our coaching staff composition and management must be long term, even if they don’t win yet. We have to change our mindset on this. We are a proud school, with an excellence driven management and alumni. But we have to swallow bitter pills before this losing illness goes away. Believe me it will go away.

D. Illness and Injuries

Loving the continuity of my segueways? Hahahaha. A little humor just to keep you awake. I really want to be as comprehensive as possible with this summary so that moving forward, we should be all on the same page.

As you know, almost all our players contracted the flu, either at the same time or sequentially. Furthermore, this was complicated by injuries, for instance, to James Laput and more importantly, Encho Serrano. From the time he injured his ankle early into the tournament, he had been practically playing in pain on one leg. Laput never returned.

In the second UE game, at least six players played sick, and in the UP Ynares game just concluded, Andrei Caracut and Brandon Bates were playing sick.

This is first hand information guys. Brandon needed rehydration and electrolyte replenishment, and was shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t move after the game. No kidding!!!!

Now you may say, excuses, excuses. We should not blame our losses on these. We should not baby our players.

But a lot of you failed to realize one thing. Because of the upcoming SEA Games, the UAAP schedule was crammed. Thus, ailing and injured bodies had very little or no time to recover properly, wouldn’t you say so? So these kids actually played a HEROIC season, won’t you agree?

The more intriguing question to me, however is WHY did it happen? I mean other teams did not suffer from this.

Wasn’t there an investigation conducted on the source of the illness? It had to start somewhere. We should know because it affected the whole team, the whole season. And as short as this season was, our chances of advancing just went. We wasted it.

E. Discipline Issues

Now it’s getting interesting, but beforehand let me point out that whatever I write about this is conjecture, pure speculation, blind analysis, maybe factual or not. I am not a team member.

But some of you know, so you can tell me off also.

Contracting illnesses can be functions of exposure to somebody who is ill, carried by disease carriers like mosquitoes, flies, the surroundings, or a dip in the body’s immune system due to over exertion, stress, lack of sleep, intake of unhealthy food and drinks, and anything that the DOH or your local doctors say.

Is the lack of discipline on the players, maybe the remiss of duty of the quarter masters, lack of rule imposition, some of the reasons or what? Is it pressure in social media? Are all of these related to discipline? Are some players feeling pressure?

Well, there it is. A throw in the wind to ponder on. Only those in the know, know. You know why a player and our consultant cried. So if there are issues, it can be addressed right? All we can say here is address it. There is no work around.

F. Social Media

Now here’s a double edged reality. I really miss the days when you can quarter a player, impose discipline, shut out the outside world before important games.

And what about sites like these?

Used in the correct way, social media can be a very helpful learning and research tool, an entertainment haven, a personal connection with people. But give the medium in the hands of trolls, know it alls, holier than thous, kots’, scum, and filth, there lies the problem of team and player management.

You and I know that these comments affected a lot of our players. Hell, they responded to them in interviews. Some were negatively affected, but one should be the teams role model. Brandon, “the Master” Bates (hey I didn’t give this monicker to him. Don’t look at me. Hahahaha). Took the “useless” monicker given to him by a troll, and took out the “less” in his game. Now, watch out for him in the coming seasons!!!! Good job mate!!!

So what does the team do about social media during the season? Impose a ban, limited use, establish an administrative page for them, what?

Or establish guidelines like tapering use of gadgets as the season progresses, and accountabilities for violation of those guidelines? Sounds like censorship? Violation of freedoms? Or looks like team discipline?

G. Team and Personal Management

What about team counselling sessions, coach and player relationships, suggestion boxes? You know, we have to battle the negative side of social media and establish father and son, teacher and mentor relationships between players, coaches and management.

Really, because we just saw what happened this year. Hey I also know first hand that a team (another league), employed meditation gurus, zen masters, to relax their players as a detox technique. Great idea don’t you think?

H. The Rise of the Green Archers

Now we come to our title. Our goal actually. Anything else I left out? Any other things on your mind? Go ahead.

Do you believe we can turn this around? Of course YES.

We did it before remember? During the UST bridesmaid years. Four looooong years. It took the right coach, the right discipline, the right players, the right system, and the right motivators to turn it around.

Guys it’s really simple. Comment properly. Suggest politely. Teach correctly. Discipline appropriately. Balance your lives. Work hard. Study hard. Then detox cleanly. Chill. Take care of your body. And oh, respect your elders and most importantly, PRAY!!!!!

Hey. I was varsity team too (chess). Stressful sport mind you. Five to six hours of intense analysis. That’s just the game, not the training. So long hours plus study. I know!!!!

That’s why I write. To support our athletes. To support the school. And hey. Writing is MY detox. Everybody happy. That’s the key. Happiness.

Thanks for the season. Thank you to Jamie Orme Malonzo, Keyshawn Keys Meeker, James Laput, and most specially, Andrei Caracut. Played 5 years under 4 coaches, and played sick in the UP game. If that’s not a heroic Green Archer, I don’t know who is.

God willing, see you all next year.

Animo La Salle!!!!!

That’s How You Finish The Season

0

Well although it’s not the tournament finish that we would have wanted. But that’s the way to finish a game.

And for the graduating seniors. Andrei Caracut, and Jamie Malonzo, they made sure that their swan song was a sweet one.

Nothing much to write about this game. Two words. Total dominance.

And there are two most dominant numbers here. Rebounding and Jamie Malonzo’s scoring numbers.

Adamson did not put up much of an effort really. And this differentiates the winning cultures of the two schools. Well their coaching staff still carries that culture. But their players did not embody it.

Allowing Malonzo to score 30 + points is a scrimmage. I think Adamson was already thinking of the rotation next season, as in the 1st quarter alone. They already used 11 players.

We were business as usual on the other end. Went to the right guys, the right plays, within the system. And Jamie Malonzo wanted to say goodbye in a big way.

Thank you very much, our beloved Green Archers, for the heroic effort this season. A lot of challenges came your way like illness and injuries. But not once did any player explain that they were sick or injured.

A performance like this should carry momentum at the start of next season. And we will have new hopefuls who may probably fill in the gaps, gaps that necessitated us to recruit our one and done’s. It wasn’t a failed exercise. We were in it to the end.

Till next season. Animo La Salle.

Lady Archers miss out on Final Four in heart-rending loss to Adamson

0

Ultimately, it just was not meant to be.

In need of a victory to make it to the Final Four in the UAAP Season 82 Women’s Basketball Tournament, the De La Salle University Lady Archers suffered a heartbreaking 86-87 loss at the hands of the Adamson Lady Falcons, Wednesday morning at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion in Manila.

The result leaves the Lady Archers at 5th place at the end of the elimination round with a win-loss record of 7-7.

Down by as much as 10 points by the end of the first half, La Salle fought back to level the contest at 84-84 within the last two minutes of the contest. However, Adamson snatched a slender 86-87 edge and La Salle had the last possession with 14 seconds left to win the ballgame, only for Lady Archers to fail to convert a game-winning basket.

Kent Pastrana led the team 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals while Maureen Okoli followed suit with 16 markers and 14 boards. Lee Sario also sunk in 16 points. In her last game for the Green and White, skipper Bennette Revillosa contributed nine points, three rebounds and four assists. It was also Vea Malarde’s last outing for La Salle.

La Salle 86 – Pastrana 30, Okoli 16, Sario 16, Revillosa 9, Dalisay 7, Torres 6, Jimenez 2, Binaohan 0, Malarde 0, Paraiso 0, Quingco 0.

Adamson 87 – Prado 26, Bilbao 19, Dampios 13, Araja 11, Catulong 6, Flor 6, Omopia 4, Balane 2, Anticamara 0, Mendoza 0.

Quarter scores: 14-21, 35-45, 63-65, 86-87.

Game Day Preview: La Salle vs Adamson 10.30.19

0

In those few times the Green Archers (6-7) did not advance to the Final 4, they would still be in contention until the very last game of the eliminations. Still in the thick of the fight for a possible playoff.

This season however will be different. The team will miss the semis for the second straight year but their fate has already been sealed even before they close out the second round.

Today, La Salle will be playing for nothing more than pride.

Adamson (4-9) likewise had a disappointing campaign this year after 3-straight appearances in the final four and a near-finals stint a season ago.

The last time they faced each other. Andrei Caracut came thru in the clutch as La Salle prevailed 68-61.

What to Watch For

Andrei’s last dance. Caracut’s 5-year tenure with the Green and White has been filled with both ups and downs. He endured all the many changes that happened in the team particularly playing under 4 different head coaches. Despite this, he still found ways to become a significant contributor to the team. Rookie Of the Year, Champion – it was a good run.

Aside from Caracut, it will also be the final UAAP game for Jamie Malonzo, James Laput and Keyshawn Meeker.

The other guys. We expect to see more court action for the those who are not part of the regular rotation.

Hope for a better future. For the past several years, the Green Archers are a team that continues to search for an identity. And as the 2010s come to a close, we remain optimistic that they will all soon figure it out, to finally bring stability and become a consistent championship contender year in year out.

Because at the end of the day, all of us, the team, the school community just want one thing… to WIN.

The heartbreak continues for La Salle. But is it forever?

0

The Green Archers fought bravely indeed but just came up short. The Fighting Maroons who have played so many close games this season looked a lot more comfortable than us during the clutch and that is probably because we have more at stake in this game. As a long-time Green Archer fan, this will be the first time that we will be out of the final four for two years in a row. Yep, we can call ourselves spoiled but it is what it is and no matter how you look at it, it’s hard to accept it but that’s life.

I want to congratulate the boys for giving their all up to the end especially Jamie, Aljun, Brandon, Joaqui, Balti and Encho. I love scorers who do not shy away from taking shots even when they miss like Balti and Aljun who will shoot their way out of their slump until they connect when it matters and I love it. Jamie was again superb on both ends! And Brandon held off everyone including Akuetie and what he brings to the table is just invaluable. When you lose and see the boys go down fighting like that I just cannot help but feel proud of the way they carried the name in front of their jerseys.

But when we lose by just 3 points it is so painful that I could not help but take notice of some small things that maybe we could have done differently and maybe the 3 points difference could have been erased or maybe not. I won’t talk about the free throws anymore because 16 of 26 for 61.5% is about our average on a good day. Asking them to sink 3 more for 19/26 for 73% would be too uncharacteristic of the team. But during the game there are two things that I could not help but notice:

We kept pulling out our guns maybe a little too early at the end of each quarter and UP kept capitalizing on it to end with a bang. We started the 2nd quarter down by 10, 21-11. After UP scored 6 (26-11) straight points to raise the lead by 16 we went on a 21-0 tear led by Jamie on the offensive end and Brandon and Jamie holding off Akhuetie and Kobe on the other end for a 31-27 lead. Then with still over a minute left Jamie and Brandon were rested. That was when coach Bo took advantage and left Bright inside to capitalize, scoring 4 baskets to ignite an 8-2 run ending the half leading by one when we should have ended the 2nd up by at least 2-4. Then in the third quarter, we did it again! This time we were just down by three and again Jamie and Brandon were sat down, and immediately Bright scored on an and-1 play (didn’t make the FT) and another driving layup and Manzo closed with a three for a 7-0 run ending the 3rd with a 10 point lead! 1:30 minutes is about good for 3-4 plays and UP made the most of it. 8 of the 17 points by Akhuetie were scored during those last-minute in-between quarters when we sat Brandon down.

Resting our guns with about a minute left to end the quarter is just about standard on a regular game. But this was an all-important game, a win-or-go-home game and perhaps consider squeezing a few more ounces of sweat from our scorers for a few more seconds could go a long way. If we end the quarter holding on to a lead it gives the starters some luxury to be rested longer at the start of the next quarter. Moreover, the second stringers when taking over, usually play better with the lead than when they are playing catch up. And besides, at half time you get a full 15-minute rest. Maybe we should make sure we end each quarter on a high note instead of throwing away our momentum.

The coaching staff’s tweaking of individual skill sets is also as crucial, like player habits which cause them to commit travelling violations or other errors. These little things killed our momentum in this, as well as in other crucial games. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our players are still playing sick haven’t recovered their strengths back. But let’s not sugarcoat the need to develop their skill sets and minimize their errors. The coaches can help them a great deal with that. I don’t know if these tweaks could have changed the outcome of this game but it is worth noting that compared to the past Green Archer teams this batch has the lowest average in turnovers. With these adjustments, their average could still go down further and might turn lost close games into wins. The devil is in the details.

These are just observations I noticed during the game and the coaches unfairly do not have 20/20 hindsight. But maybe in the next games this can be a lesson worth looking at.

Tis’ The Season To Be…. Hopeful For The Next One

0

Well it’s getting near the season of hope. Around two months, to estimate. But as far as Season ’82 Men’s basketball, hope just flew out of the Ynares Sports Complex.

Yes, it sucks. Big time. The results anyway. But not the fight. We fought. Big-time.

You know that game really sums up our season. Up and down. Like a roller coaster. Like an elevator ride. Like children in a see-saw.

We saw stretches of brilliant games and forgettable ones, but let’s reserve this for our season ending summary after the Adamson game. I will try to be comprehensive with that. Let’s stick to this game first.

For the past three games, we always start out very slow. Oh let’s not hold back. We start crappy. And this was the worst start of a basketball game this season. 1 measly point with three minutes to go in the 1st quarter.

But hold on. At the end of that forgettable quarter, we fought back!!!! Don’t you realize that we were only down 10 at 21 to 11? Still positive in my book.

And the fightback continued into the second. A 21-0 counter blast to take the lead. Only a counter 5-0 blast from UP prevented them from ending the half behind.

The second half of the game was an exact replica of the first. They built a 10 point lead again in the third. Of course with our fightback, the ending was cardiac.

It took a backdoor play by UP and a dunk from Kobe Paras, which turned the tide for them.

What happened? Well, some players did not bring their A game. but a few players did.

And LO AND BEHOLD!!!!!! The useless one turned out to be the MOST USEFUL PLAYER in this game.

Nowadays, they measure player value by detailed analytics, translated into influence on how many points the team scored. And BRANDON BATES contributed a POSITIVE 18 for the team. Runner up to him was Encho Serrano with a plus 9.

That means, to those that want to understand, that these two players contributed to 27 points against UP. The rest of the team contributed a negative 30, or points for UP. Thus the 3 point loss.

And did you see that posterize dunk try of Ricci Rivero? DENIED BY BRANDON BATES!!!!!! And 10 rebounds again? Bates for PRESIDENT!!!!!! Cast your votes. Hahaha.

Notice that I’m focusing on the positives in this game. The players who helped the team, and the furious fightback.

Analytics are good, but should not take away what the other players did for us. Aljun Melecio and Jamie Malonzo. Tried like hell. The fightbacks were really them in particular. The scoring. The The heart. The passion. The grit.

And don’t crucify Andrei Caracut please. I will summarize this season and try to tell you what I really think happened. A lot of trolls are blaming him, but really? There’s an explanation to everything. Not excuses mind you.

This was another game that we lost. Even if UP won it, we lost it more. We had our chances didn’t we? We just didn’t make the big shots.

And so ends the Men’s Basketball Season 82 for us. But not the Animo mind you. We still have a game against Adamson and every game is OUR game.

So support the team in the Adamson game. And this early, THANK YOU ANDREI CARACUT, JAMIE MALONZO, KEYSHAWN MEEKER AND JAMES LAPUT. You wore the green and white uniform proudly and with honor.

Salamat and ANIMO!!!!!!

Meanwhile, try to enjoy the holidays. After all, tis the season to be……whatever you make of it. So enjoy still.

Animo!!!!”’