Velasco believes tough love will put CSB over the hump

Tricia Robredo on Jul 10, 2015 01:44 PM
Velasco believes tough love will put CSB over the hump
TOUGH ENOUGH. Coach Gabby Velasco said his and his coaching staff's ways of tough love is the way for his CSB Blazers to learn from all their seasons of almost.

Coming into the game against the Emilio Aguinaldo Generals last Tuesday, College of St. Benilde head coach Gabby Velasco admitted to have felt a little worried for his Blazers.

“We just lost two straight games and sa Filoil (preseason tournament) naman, we also lost to EAC,” Velasco told ABS-CBN Sports.

If preparing for that match was a challenge, one could only imagine how difficult it must have been for them to pick up the pieces after last season’s almost finish. “After making them realize the things that we needed to improve on, I told them to stay positive despite the circumstances. That tomorrow will be another day and what’s important is that we learn from the past,” he said.

The Blazers showed up and visibly played with more emotion this week – you had Jonathan Grey releasing so much steam after knocking down threes and dunking to everyone’s surprise, the rest of the boys in the bench celebrating each point, and the coaching staff in the sidelines very animated as they’ve been.

Velasco said that this is just what he expected from everyone: to put up the best effort and to play with hunger. “We’re not a big team. We’re not a great team here, but with our intensity, aggressiveness, willingness, and determination, probably we’ll be able to make a difference,” he said.

How exactly do you motivate such a squad? The spirit of a pack heavily depends on the tone and environment set by its mentors and coach Gabby shared his personal ways of approaching and leading his boys as he said, “I’m tough. I’m really hard on my players. I scream, I yell, but that’s only because I want to push them to the best of their abilities.”

Coaching collegiate athletes with different personalities, however, means having to adjust accordingly. Communication then becomes a big and essential part of their team. “I assess the person, I try to introduce myself and I try to make them realize why I’m like this or why I’m like that. Although I try to meet them halfway pa rin. I adjust to a level na magkakaintindihan kami,” he said.

If there is something non-negotiable for coach Gabby Velasco, it would be discipline. As much as possible, he doesn’t want his players to be scared of him, but he doesn’t want them to be lax and abusive of his understanding and patience either.

So at the end of the day, he and his coaching staff are still very strict. After all, if they want to hop on that Final Four train this season, it might be best to toughen up and strap on a pair.


Follow this writer on Twitter, @jpgrobredo.

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