LA Salle coach Juno Sauler is tinkering with the idea of letting a basketball great and member of his coaching staff join the team in practice, especially with injuries hitting his players left and right.
“We are down to nine players. I don’t know how we are going to practice 5-on-5,” Sauler said.
“Maybe, I’ll probably ask coach Allan to join practices,” added Sauler, referring to the legendary Allan Caidic, one of the best shooters the country – and Asia – has ever produced.
Sauler was kidding, of course, but the injury bug that has hit his team is definitely no laughing matter.
La Salle point guard Thomas Torres was the first to go down for the 14-man reigning UAAP champions after suffering a fractured ankle during the Archers’ game against rival Ateneo.
Center Arnold Van Opstal followed suit and is currently recovering from a knee injury, then second-stringer Terrence Mustre came next with a wrist injury.
Making matters worse, two La Salle players got injured in the team’s game against University of Santo Tomas, with Norbert Torres sustaining a cut in his right hand that need stitches and Kib Montalbo pulling his calf muscle in the left leg.
Good thing the Archers got a big boost from their second stringers in their game against the UST Tigers on Sunday, among them Prince Rivero, Julian Sargent, and Yutien Andrada as all three contributed in the 83-70 win.
Sauler stressed he would need more of the same from La Salle’s bench when the second round of the eliminations comes around.
“Big,” he said when asked what role the second stringers will have in La Salle’s injury-riddled lineup. “Just like how they performed (on Sunday).”
“I think they were just up to the challenge. They really wanted to show what they can contribute. We want the team growing especially coming into the second round,” said the soft-spoken coach.
But the injury bug could be over soon for the Archers.
While he still wears a protector in his right foot, Torres is now able to walk around without crutches, while Van Opstal is expected to recover in three to five days from his knee injury.
“Hopefully, we can get healthier,” Sauler said.