Watch out, defending champion DLSU is about to deploy #MAYHEM-ready rookies
Alvin Laqui on Sep 08, 2017 06:37 PM
MORE MAYHEM. Four players who were recruited by Aldin Ayo himself will be helping DLSU in its title defense. (L to R: Gabe Capacio, Ramil Tero, Leonard Santillan, and Joshua Gonzales)
De La Salle University's incoming rookies may have come from different backgrounds, but they all agree on a couple of things that make the defending champions and their #MAYHEM battle cry a lot more dangerous heading into UAAP Season 80.
Mainly, they're all hungry and all hyped up to clash with modern-day rivals FEU Tamaraws and their age-old foes Ateneo Blue Eagles.
First, the basics.
The Green Archers' Season 80 rookie class is made up of two guards and two forwards.
The feisty Ramil Tero from St. Claire and former UE Red Warrior Joshua Gonzales make up the first-year backcourt duo while Gabe Capacio from Letran and Leonard Santillan from University of the Visayas reinforce DLSU's already stacked froncourt.
The incoming rookies served a year of residency in Taft and had all of last season to witness the Green Archers' heated wars against FEU and their Finals clash with Ateneo.
They were also given a baptism of fire, sharing the floor with the Tamaraws back in the highly-publicized brawl in Davao.
So it's no surprise that like their older brothers, (and really, the rest of the UAAP) they too, are excited to face the boys from Morayta in their opening game this September 10 in what is expected to be a highly physical contest.
And of course, being a part of the storied Ateneo-La Salle rivalry is also an alluring part of these players' rookie campaigns.
"Ako, sakin FEU tsaka Ateneo. First time namin. Ako first time ko makakaapak sa MOA," Tero said.
"FEU pa rin kasi first game yun e," Gonzales adds, while Capacio echoes his fellow rookies' sentiments, "FEU kasi first game namin sa UAAP yun e. Ateneo siyempre rivalry, pag Ateneo-La Salle, UAAP yun."
Another reason for the rookies to get pumped is the mystique of gunning for, and potentially winning back-to-back championships, as Capacio shares, "Napapag-usapan lang namin (among rookies) yung feeling na mag-champion. Kasi na-feel namin yun nung nag-champion kami sa Taiwan."
Capacio continues, "So yung feeling na yun parang sa ibang league yun pero ang sarap na. Ano pa kaya kung sa UAAP?"
Santillan however, thinks the Green Archers have a much bigger target on their backs, now that they have proved themselves last season. "Mas mahihirapan kasi ide-defend namin crown namin," he said.
Fortunately for coach Aldin Ayo, his new recruits are 100 percent commited to his #MAYHEM state of mind.
"Magulo pero effective sa sistema talaga namin," Tero said. "Sabi ko sa sarili ko, kaya 'to, maganda para sakin. Bagay yung sistema sakin. Takbuhan, yugyugan, pisikalan talaga."
"Nakapag-adjust na kami sa sistema," the solid Santillan said. "Yung sistema ni coach Aldin parang pang champion na talaga."
Meanwhile, Capacio stressed that the system calls for each Archer play his own role and that's what he, along with the other rookies plan to do.
"May kanya-kanya kaming roles para sa team. Yung iba may scorers, may defenders, kami gagawin lang namin yung mga role namin para at least, in a way, makatulong kami sa team."
Luckily, the young guns are nothing but confident heading into the season.
Tero was even quick to brush off naysayers, claiming that all the hate only adds fuel to their fire.
"Inspired kami, natutuwa kami kasi andaming nangba-bash sa amin, okay lang ganun," Tero said. "Mas nakakataas nang morale."
With their signature mayhem basketball comes a grueling training regime. These battle-hardened kids survived it all, and they're here. They're primed and they’re ready.
"Feel namin mahihirapan kami sa start kasi sitwasyon namin ngayon wala si Ben (Mbala), si Kib (Montalbo) may sakit pa." Capacio bared. "Feel naman namin na along the way, maganda yung mapapakita namin."
However big or small their roles are going to be, they're all a welcome addition to a Green Archers squad that is still widely considered as the team to beat.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @alvinlaqui.