NEWLY installed head coach Juno Sauler has set a tough twice-a-day practice schedule for La Salle as he works double time to integrate his system into the Green Archers barely three weeks before the UAAP season.
Sauler, however, said he doesn't plan to make any major changes to the current Archers system in the final stretch of the team's preparations after taking over from Gee Abanilla.
“Even if we are going to change several things, the players have to be able to grasp and adjust. To make sure of that, we will be calling for twice-a-day practices in the coming weeks before the opening,” Sauler told Spin.ph.
The Archers led by Jeron Teng are a talented bunch but the overall effectiveness of the guard-oriented offense has come under criticism, especially after the recent loss to injury-plagued archrival Ateneo in the final elimination game of a preseason tournament.
The UAAP basketball tournament opens June 29 at the MOA Arena.
Without the luxury of time, Sauler said he will play it by ear and see which aspects of the Archers' game can be tweaked in the lead-up to the new season.
“Each coach has his own view and he sees things differently so we will just tweak a bit, change some things, but I don’t want it to be major and drastic na baka mahirapan ’yung players,” said Sauler.
"Whatever it is that I see and I can feel that they can grasp and comprehend, ’yun ang ita-try nating baguhin."
The former Green Archer admits time is not on his side, but he is not complaining.
“Of course, time is always a concern,” Sauler said a day after De La Salle officially announced his hiring. “It could have been better circumstances but it’s what we are called to do.”
Previously head coach of La Salle’s women’s and juniors teams, Sauler has previously worked as assistant to two Archers head coaches — Franz Pumaren (1998) and Abanilla (2012).
After finding himself at the helm of a major college program for the first time, Sauler insisted there will be no major adjustments on his part.
“Sa akin, pareho lang lahat whether head coach or assistant coach. It’s still coaching. Even if you are an assistant coach, you want to be the best coach you can be. It’s all the same,” said Sauler.
Sauler also said he doesn’t mind the added pressure that comes with the high-profile job, especially with San Miguel Corp. chairman Eduardo 'Danding' Cojuangco as the team's top patron.
“Hindi naman talaga mawawala ’yun. Wherever you go, there is pressure. I don’t even know how to measure it,” said Sauler.
Sauler also said that he will remain as an assistant coach with Barangay Ginebra, a job that he has been holding since 2002.