MATT Salem believes transferring to National University from De La Salle will help him improve his game as he faces a new chapter in his collegiate career.
Salem made the move after suiting up for two seasons with the Green Archers, being part of the championship team that won the 2013 UAAP men’s basketball championship.
But following a string of recruits tapped by the Taft-based school during the off-season, Salem expects his minutes to considerably go down had he opted to stay with the team.
The 22-year-old Salem though, told Spin.ph he has no ill-feelings towards La Salle as he felt that going elsewhere will help him get better as a player, never mind that it will take him at least a one-year residency before becoming eligible to play for NU.
“We all have to take a step for ourselves. I was very happy with La Salle but I felt like, for my place, I had to leave so that I could improve,” said Salem, who was spotted at the back of the Bulldogs’ bench during the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup preseason tournament wearing an NU shirt.
“La Salle helped me grew as a person and as a player. But I want to explore more. I thought for my personal reason that would be better to transfer,” he added.
The Orlando, Florida-born stretch-four cager said he decided to move to NU mainly because he believes he will thrive under the system of head coach Eric Altamirano.
“From their (Bulldogs) style of play they played last year, I thought it would really fit my kind of game. I like to pick-and-pop for the 4 spot. If you watch NU play, you see them pick-and-pop,” said Salem, whose mother is a Filipina.
“I thought their game style could fit my game style and maybe I can help whenever I’ll be eligible to play.”
Salem is currently part of the NU Team B that is competing in summer tournaments.
He has also lost weight since the last time he played for La Salle in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) last year.
“Right now, I’m just practicing with Team B and play in small leagues they play,” said Salem.