WILL La Salle stick to its 'lucky' 13-man lineup for the coming UAAP season?
Following its title conquest in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup, coach Juno Sauler and his staff will have the unenviable task of selecting who among the Green Archers in the team’s pool will be seeing action in Season 77 of the league set to open on July 12.
The number 13 proved to be a lucky charm for the Taft-based school in 2013 as it brought the UAAP crown back to Taft Avenue with a finals win over University of Santo Tomas.
The championship came after La Salle formed just a 13-man roster for Season 76, three persons short of the maximum 16 allowed by the UAAP.
According to La Salle insiders, it was La Salle top patron Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco who suggested having a 13-man lineup for last season for ‘good luck,’ although Sauler later explained that the 13 players in the final lineup were the ones truly deserving to be part of the roster.
Regardless of the final number, Sauler said it will be a tough decision to make for the coaching staff as it begins the process of trimming the lineup since La Salle has 18 players eligible to play this year.
“That’s one thing that we also have to do. We are 18. The coaches will probably talk this week to finalize everything. Me, honestly, I don’t know yet,” said Sauler.
As to how many players will break in the lineup, Sauler was non-committal.
“I don’t know also. Maybe 16, maybe 14. I don’t know,” Sauler said.
As it is, the Green Archers will be spoiled for choice as only LA Revilla from last year's team will not be around this time.
Yutien Andrada returns this season after suffering a season-ending ACL injury last year. Also expected to be thoroughly evaluated are first-year players who are either out of high school or have taken up residency such as Prince Rivero, Terence Mustre, Julian Sargent, Abu Tratter, and Daryl Pascual.
“Still need to learn a lot but they are getting there,” said Sauler, referring to the new players.
The La Salle coach said the preparation of the school is not yet finished as it still plans to have scrimmages with other teams in the weeks leading to the the Archers’ opening-day match against Far Eastern University.
“We plan to have tune-ups with other teams before the UAAP,” said Sauler.