WORKING on a small backcourt, newly-installed La Salle coach Juno Sauler sees one major weapon for the Green Archers to be competitive in the coming Season 76 of the UAAP – quickness.
“As long as we’re quicker then that’s okay. What’s hard is if we’re small and our opponents are quicker still. But if we’re quick, we’ll use that to our advantage,” Sauler told Spin.ph Friday following the tune-up match of La Salle against Globalport at the San Juan Arena.
The bigger and experienced Batang Pier exposed the weakness of the small and young Green Archers behind a 76-58 rout.
La Salle is currently utilizing a backcourt composed of senior guard Almond Vosotros and backup sophomore Thomas Torres, along with rookies Kib Montalbo and Robert Bolick, Jr.
All guards though, stand below six feet.
While Sauler has been vocal about utilizing the quickness of his team, Globalport coach Junel Baculi is curious to see how the Archers could match up against taller opponents in the UAAP such as five-time defending champion Ateneo, last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas (UST), and even darkhorse National University (NU).
“Their 1,2 and 3 are small. That’s their (Green Archers) problem, so putting Jeron (Teng) at 4 (power forward), ang liit din,” noted Baculi, who also serves as athletic director of NU.
Sauler said he’s arranging two more tune up games this coming week as he works on his players with some slight adjustments on the team’s system just a week after he was named replacement for Gee Abanilla.
La Salle opens the UAAP basketball season against Santo Tomas on June 29.
Sauler is also hopeful everyone else in the team will work together and not rely heavily on Teng, last season’s top rookie.
The 6-foot-2 Teng averaged 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 32 minutes of play on the way to capturing the league’s Rookie of the Year last season.
But Teng needs help though from La Salle’s underrated big boys led by Norbert Torres and Arnold Van Opstal.
“Jeron is Jeron. Whatever he did last year, he’ll try to do a little more this year. But not only Jeron, all the other players will have to try to do a little bit more this year,” said Sauler, who previously handled La Salle’s women’s and junior teams.
Sauler once served as assistant to two La Salle head coaches — Franz Pumaren (1998) and Abanilla (2012).