LOUIE Gonzalez said La Salle will continue to adhere to the defensive principles that made the Green Archers a force to be reckoned with in the UAAP the past two years under Aldin Ayo.
Gonzalez, 41, said the Green Archers will still be a defensive-minded team that thrives on effort and discipline, but stopped short of using the 'Mayhem' label that identified La Salle's defense during Ayo's watch.
“The brand of basketball will be similar,” said the new La Salle coach in an interview with SPIN.ph on Monday. ”It’s a defending team. It’s a pressuring team. Halos ganun pa rin.”
Gonzalez said he remains good friends with Ayo even after their long partnership ended with Ayo’s move to University of Santo Tomas and the former's decision to stay put at La Salle.
“We remain good friends. He is like a brother to me,” said Gonzalez.
That's precisely the reason Gonzalez would rather not call his defensive scheme ‘Mayhem,’ out of respect to his good friend.
“Kasi ‘yung Mayhem, I don’t want to take that away from Aldin. That’s his brand. It (La Salle) will be a team pa rin that plays with effort. I want to focus on that. The effort and the discipline,” said Gonzalez.
But whatever name you call it, Gonzales can't emphasize the importance of defense enough.
“I believe na when you defend, magko-compete ka in any level. It’s effort and skills. ‘Yun ang order niya. Basta may effort and skills, it makes the job easierk,” he added.
An assistant coach in various collegiate and professional teams, Gonzalez inherits a Green Archers squad that reached the finals over the past two years and won the Season 79 crown under Ayo.
As La Salle’s head coach, Gonzalez said he will have Glenn Capacio as his consultant, and Siot Tanquincen as his lead assistant. Also part of his staff are Anton Altamirano and Marlon Celis.
Gonzalez is thankful for the opportunity given to him by La Salle and its team patron Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco, who spoke to him about the job on December 30.
“It’s a chance na hindi ko inexpect. I asked for guidance kay Lord and sa family ko. Nag-agree naman kami. That’s why I took the job,” said Gonzalez.
“He (Cojuangco) told me na, 'May tiwala ako sa 'yo.' That’s good enough para ituloy ko ‘yung programa. I’m grateful sa tiwala niya tapos sumunod na ‘yung mga managers. I’m grateful for that,” he added.
La Salle has now began its conditioning program for the players, with team orientation and formal practice set to begin on January 16 and 17 respectively, according to Gonzalez.
The Green Archers will see action in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) in February.