DE La Salle Lipa again underscored that player recruitment isn’t the only way to victory, claiming its second title in three years in Division 2 of the NBTC national tournament.
The Green Chevrons defeated Letran-Bataan in the finals, a huge victory for a team that doesn’t have the means to lure top players.
“Manila schools are Manila schools and Manila schools are getting the best players from the provinces,” said head coach J-Rex Atienza.
La Salle Lipa even struggles to find the best talent in its own province, says Atienza, since the school only offers athletic scholarships to the college basketball team and not the high school squad.
“As of the moment, we don’t have scholarships. They are paying athletes,” said Atienza.
“Once they turn college, that’s when we offer scholarship. In the high school level, we could not recruit from the tournaments we are participating because we can’t offer anything except free uniform. Other than that, there is none.”
Atienza said he relies on the student base. In the academic year 2015 to 2016, La Salle Lipa had 1,453 elementary students.
“But in the high school level, we train from the grassroots,” said Atienza.
“These are homegrown from the grade school level. We select them because we have many students that’s why we could just look for a talent and develop them, hoping that in God’s time, they can play in the big stage like this.”
Ian Abila was named Most Outstanding Player of Division 2, while fellow graduating player Raphael Dimayuga was part of the Mythical Five.
“This is a great sendoff because we weren’t able to finish the job last year. This is the last time they will get it done and thank God they delivered,” said Atienza.