DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY GREEN ARCHERS
EVERYBODY IN THE UAAP KNOWS THAT THERE IS CONTINUITY IN THE RECRUITMENT PROGRAM OF LA SALLE BASKETBALL. BUT IS SECURING THE SERVICES OF ONE OF THE MOST DECORATED HIGH SCHOOL TALENTS IN THE LAND STILL ENOUGH TO GET TO THE TOP? THIS SEASON, WE WILL FIND
Parang hindi nasiya rookie eh. Kasi halos tatlong taon na naminsiyang nakakasama sa laro,” said Jovet Mendoza. The guy he was referring to is Norbert Torres.
Born and raised by Filipino parents in Toronto, Canada, the 6’6” Torres flew home to the motherland in 2008 to join the RP Under18 Youth Team coached by none other than former DLSU champion coach Franz Pumaren. Already familiar with the Pumaren system, Torres will finally be able to strut his stuff in the league. His playing style? Current DLSU head coach Dindo Pumaren mentions one name: “Dirk.” As in, German NBA player Dirk Nowitzki.
Like Simon Atkins who adjusted well to playing a different position last season (refer to the Simon Atkins feature also in this issue), Yutien Andrada has to learn how to play number 3 this year. There are a lot of scorers in the league at the small forward position like Mike Silungan and Kevin Ferrer, to name a few. It is up to the 6’5” Andrada to stop them.
Making his return to the hardcourt after missing two UAAP seasons is L.A. Revilla. The former San Beda Red Cub was named to the All-Rookie team along with former high school teammate Nico Salva in 2008, before he was diagnosed with diabetes and hyperthyroidism. “I missed the game itself. Napakahirap ng nasa likod ka ng bench habangpinapanoodmo ‘yung team mo,” said an emotional Revilla. “I realized a lot of things during the past two years. Akala ko kasi dati na parang, ‘If you take away basketball, then you take away my life.’” The witty point guard understands that there’s more to life than basketball but now that he’s been cleared by doctors to play again, he has a couple of goals for the upcoming season that
he wants to achieve. “To prove to myself that I can compete once again. To help the team. Play for the school and help bring maturity to the team.”
When you see that tall, ripped, light skinned guy with the wide wingspan dunking during the warm-ups, you can’t help but remember Rico Maierhofer. Although he has yet to develop the moves of the former La Salle star, Arnold Van Opstal at 6’8” is two inches taller than Maierhofer. “I actually got the chance to play with him once during my third year in high school. He was very encouraging. He gave me a lot of high fives although we didn’t really get a chance to talk,” shared the 19 year old Filipino-German who was born in Frankfurt, Germany. For his rookie season, his role is simple: “Blocks. Rebounds. That’s it. Keep coach happy.”
Former San Beda Red Cubs, Dan Sara and 6’5” Fonso Gotladera are also set to make their UAAP debuts. Sara is a cat-quick point guard who spent a year in Team B while Gotladera is described by team captain Simon Atkins as “Kevin Love”.
For experience off the bench, Coach Pumaren calls on Maui Villanueva.
Cagayan de Oro native Joseph Marata is also back to shoot the lights out along with the 6’6” Phillip Paredes and former De La Salle-Zobel Junior Archers, Luigi de la Paz, and Joshua David Webb, who has requested to be called by his other name, “Spider”. He’s not kidding. He’ll show you his driver’s license just to prove that to you.
When Coach Dindo Pumaren took over from his older brother last season, he stated that he would continue the program and incorporate some of his ideas. But, according to Webb, with a lot of new rookies, it’s another process to get them accustomed to the Pumaren system. “We’re all trying to get on the right track together,” he explained.
When they badly needed somebody to step up to be their leader last season, Simon Atkins stepped up to the plate. This year, Pumaren has L.A. Revilla to back him up as the extension of the coach on the floor. The team’s task is to make sure that everyone on the team remains focused and determined to protect the winning tradition of La Salle basketball.
This is a very important year for the Taft based squad. If they fail to make the Final Four, they might have to consider finding other methods besides recruitment and overseas training to get better.