The De La Salle Green Archers will be an interesting team this season. Its line-up is made up of 6 rookies, 4 sophomores, 5 veterans and a returnee. Below is the line-up:
Simon Atkins, Bader Malabes, Peejay Barua, James Mangahas, Ferdinand, Kish Co
Maui Villanueva, Hyram Bagatsing, Jovet Mendoza, Joshua Webb
Yutien Andrada, Arvie Bringas, Gab Banal, Sam Marata, Joel Tolentino, Jed Manguera
LA Revilla was not included due to a medical problem while Marko Batricevic has not recovered from his season ending injury last year.
A close look at the line-up shows a bumper crop of rookies. All of them are ready and capable to see action right away. The much awaited debut of Arvie Bringas in the Senior Division will definitely be heavily anticipated. The reed-thin “Tayshaun Prince” Andrada will also see substantial minutes considering that the Green Archers are not deep in the center position. Personally, I am looking at Gab Banal and Sam Marata to make an impact as the season goes on.
The sophomores will definitely come out better and more polished than they did last year. Villanueva, Bagatsing and Webb contributed heavily to the Green Archer’s 2nd place finish last season. Villanueva and Bagatsing will only get better. The player that I would like to see play to his full potential is Joshua Webb. Undoubtedly, this kid can play but he has to do it on a more consistent basis. He is capable of being the go-to-guy if he just uses his natural basketball skills alongside his good basketball instinct.
More than the rookies and sophomores, it is the veterans of the team that worry me. Simon Atkins needs to prove that he is capable of running the team’s offense. His mid and long range jump shots have not really been there for him. He has to hit them with consistency if he expects to be the point guard that many expect him to be.
Malabes is still an enigma to me. He has shown himself to be a feast or famine player. When he makes his shots he will shoot in streaks but when he misses, many times he does not even hit the rim. His defense is superb but offensively, the jury is still out on him.
It’s not sure if Ferdinand will be able to play in La Salle’s first few games. I hope his injury has healed. He has always worked hard when he is on the court. Now it’s time for him to work smart. He has to make those mid range jumpers when the opportunity comes along. His tenacity on the board has never been questioned. His defense will be tested by opposing team’s big men like Al Husseini, Ramos, Llagas and Espiritu. He needs to be more active on the offense too.
The returning Kish Co is a good addition to this team. After taking a year off, Co is back. He is a smart basketball player. He may not have the standard physical attributes of a basketball player but what he has, he uses to the maximum. I have always admired players like him. He is scrappy and is always willing to give 110%. I would not be surprised if he steps up to be the leader that this Green Archer team needs.
Peejay Barua is instant offense. He can make those 3 pointers as soon as he steps on the court. What he needs is the confidence to carry the team on his shoulders. He shouldn’t be afraid to take the game winning shot if need be. In last year’s finals against Ateneo, Barua was a non-factor simply because there was Maierhofer and Casio to carry the team. This season, he is the main option.
James Mangahas needs more emotion and must be a leader on and off the court. He has to play with more passion and show the rookies what it takes to win games. He has to lessen his turnovers. In the past, Mangahas has stood in the shadows of Tang, Casio, Villanueva and Maierhofer. If he intends to make basketball his career, he needs to have a breakout season. He has to achieve what Pocholo Villanueva did in his last year with the Green Archers.
Mangahas and Barua are the senior statesmen of this team. They cannot sit back and wait for someone else to act as the team leader.
The coaching staff has their hands full this season. Other teams are coming in with the manpower that is needed to win championships. However, if there is someone who can pull a rabbit out of the hat, it is Coach Franz Pumaren. With the addition of his brother Dindo, the Green Archers may just spring a few surprises.
Realistically, all the team can hope for is a Final Four appearance. After that, anything is possible.
Tony Atayde (LSGH70/DLSC 75) is a writer for www.inboundpass.com. Very Opinionated. Very Green. Hate him. Love Him. It does not matter and he does not care. A Howard Stern in cyberspace. He bleeds Green, He is purely from La Salle.