COMING back from a couple of months of layoff isn’t the easiest thing to do for a player, especially in a highly competitive environment like the UAAP.
But coming back in an Ateneo – La Salle atmosphere? It’s definitely a whole lot harder, and that’s exactly what Taane Samuel did for the Green Archers on Sunday.
“It was tough, it was definitely tough especially since it’s an Ateneo-La Salle game. I’m just doing what I can there, just trying to stay as calm as possible and do what I can to just get us into a Final Four spot,” said Samuel.
The 6-foot-8 recruit out New Zealand actually made a pretty good account of himself in his first game back since suffering a Jones Fracture back in September,
Samuel finished with eight points, three rebounds, and a block in just 17 minutes of action though it didn’t translate to a win as they dropped a 71-62 loss to the Blue Eagles.
“I actually got told yesterday (Saturday) that I was actually gonna play. Before that, I was just told that I’m gonna be running and jogging, I’m just really happy to be playing,” Samuel added.
It was certainly frustrating to be sidelined two minutes into his UAAP career but the 19-year-old said that he didn’t have problems going through it as he had plenty of support from the team and even some family members of his teammates.
“I had a lot of help from the boys. The team backing me, just telling me to get my head right. It was tough coming from an injury, especially since it’s my first big injury and I was out a couple of months,” Samuel explained.
“They really stayed by my side through everything, the coaches and even the parents of some of our teammates as well,” he added
Despite the loss, Samuel’s insertion was a crucial development for the Green Archers as they enter the final game of the elimination round against University of the Philippines on Wednesday.
A win there would automatically put the Green Archers back in the semis, as a loss to the Fighting Maroons would put them in a playoff for a Final Four slot.
Whatever happens there, it’s a huge boost for La Salle as Samuel already got his feet wet heading into those crucial games.
“It’s gonna be really important, hopefully I find my groove in the next game or maybe in the next few training sessions,” said Samuel.
“These games are gonna be big for us to get our team chemistry right up to the standard that we need to compete up to the finals.”