Coach Juno pushing Green Archers to aim higher in Season 76

Photo c/o and Paul Ryan Tan

It was 2007 when the De La Salle Green Archers last won a championship. It was 2008 when they last reached the finals.


Last season, DLSU finished with a 9-5 record and managed to squeeze into the Final Four by downing the FEU Tamaraws in the knockout game. Unfortunately for the Archers, the very formidable Ateneo Blue Eagles, who had won the previous four UAAP championships, were waiting in the quarterfinals.  


The Lasallian community is optimistic of the Archers’ chances in Season 76 given the talent they have on the court and on the sidelines with the likes of new head coach Juno Sauler and assistant coaches and former PBA superstars Allan Caidic and Jun Limpot.


Sauler has been in the Lasallian circle for quite some time now. He coached the Lady Archers from 1999-2001, leading them to three titles in that span. After that stint, he went on to provide his services in the PBA, serving as an assistant coach to Ron Jacobs, Jong Uichico, and Alfrancis Chua.


But he again found himself in the arms of the ‘green and white’ when he took the job of lead assistant coach for the Archers last season. Now he’s become the head coach, which many believe will do wonders for the DLSU varsity squad.


"Right now, I'm instilling a very disciplined style of basketball in the three weeks that we've been practicing. Even off the court I'm instilling that,” said Sauler.


“I’m very strict with discipline. Whatever we do, everything has to be discipline, both as a team and as an individual. I’ve been stressing to the players that the daily habits are important. That’s why being disciplined in practice is so important. Then everything else will follow."


With regards to his assistant coaches? We all know that whatever Caidic and Limpot bring to the squad is more than just teaching the fundamentals of the game.


"Everyone thought Allan is just a shooting coach. Everyone thought Jun is just a big man coach, but there's really more to that,” Sauler added.


With Coach Juno at the helm, La Salle is gearing towards a more balanced approach in terms of offense, giving equal opportunities and putting each player in the right spots where they can most be effective.


Jeron Teng, who was the Archers’ leading scorer last season, has fully-embraced the philosophy the new coach has bestowed onto the group.


“Anyone on our team can step up anytime and contribute. Coach Juno's system is very precise,” said the sophomore wingman. “We follow a certain offense and it requires discipline from all five players on the court. I think it will be effective for us.”


Even team captain Norbert Torres welcomed the change.


“Coach Juno's system is built around in such a way that any player can score,” said Torres. “Our strength is that we are a well-balanced team. In all positions we have talented players, making us a potent team.”


LA Revilla, who is suiting up for the Archers one last time, only had these words: “Everyone… everyone has a major role.”


Keyword: everyone.


That’s Arnold Van Opstal, Almond Vosotros, Oda Tampus, Luigi dela Paz, Thomas Torres, and Gabby Reyes. All who have slowly matured and grasped their resposnbilities in their own ways.


This season, the Archers will be parading four rookies in Kib Montalbo, Jason Perkins, Robert Bolick, and Matt Salem.


The 6-4 Perkins is a two-dimensional player who has ‘double-double’ potential given his wide body and great nose for the ball. He’s a lefty who despite his lack of athleticism can become a solid contributor in the paint on both offense and defense.


Both bolstering the guard rotation of the Archers are Montalbo, known as a pass-first player, and the defensive-minded Bolick, while Salem is capable of providing quality minutes off the bench.


People will be expecting a lot from this year’s team but it still remains to be seen whether the talent on the roster can mesh well together on the court, especially with a new voice guiding them.


And although Coach Sauler feels the pressure from the Lasallian community to bring the Archers back to the promised land, he isn’t dwelling on prioritizing a championship.


“I know a lot of people want that (championship). But I try to focus on the daily things, the daily aspects, just trying to make everyone better. If we do that, then hopefully the result that everyone wants will happen.”



JC Ansis JC Ansis @jcansis
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