by Alvin Ray M. Ramos
Golden Staglets Basketball Team is now ready for the NCAA Season 90 tournament this first semester despite the pres-season dilemmas the team had to face. With the appointment of Franco Atienza as the new head coach last April, this relatively young team with only 7 veterans left, has undergone stricter and more rigid trainings.
“We did not start from zero; we started from negative,” said Coach Franco having known the academic deficiencies of his players that might have made them ineligible for the season.
To initially address the problem, training sessions were set from 5 A.M. to 7:30 A.M. to allow some players to attend to their academic deficiencies. Trainings resumed at 5 pm onwards.
Even with such tight schedule and condition, they were still able to participate in the FilOil Flying-V Pre-Season Cup. Though unsuccessful to finish strong, it became the tune-up tournament for the team to get adapted with the new basketball program they are in. “We are really in the rebuilding stage,” team captain Jasper Philip Magno said.
As part of the pre-season preparations, Coach Franco, together with his coaching staff, presented an overview of the new Basketball Athletes Program to the teachers and players’ parents and guardians last June 4 and 7 respectively. The new program, serving as the guide for the holistic formation and development of the basketball athletes, basically defines what a student-athlete is and how he should regard himself as a student and an athlete. Moreover, it emphasizes that attitude, academic standing, and skills are the major considerations before one can be a part of the team. It also presents the core support needed by the athletes to grow and be driven in their pursuit to excellence. This includes the family, academic personnel, coaches, and school personnel.
Topping their pre-season preparation, they, joining the seniors’ basketball team, strengthened their team spirit and camaraderie in an overnight team building at Philip’s Sanctuary, Antipolo, Rizal last June 20-21.
“That was an opportunity for the whole team to bond and get gelled with each other so during the games, we can play as one,” said Mario Emmanuel Bonleon III, one of this year’s rookies.
With all preparations the team had for the NCAA season, they are hopeful to better their best, make a strong finish, and finally bring the elusive championship back to the institution.