When the La Salle Green Archers played a Korean team during a friendly at the San Juan Arena earlier this year, it was a revelation for fans of the perennial UAAP title contender to see how seamlessly rookie Joshua Andrei Caracut blended in with the team. It was as if he had been playing with them for some time now.
When the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup tipped off last April 25, the Green Archers, the defending tourney champions, faced San Beda College.
Unfortunately, the Archers had a tough time against the Red Lions who repeatedly repelled rallies. The one person who kept DLSU in the game was Caracut, prompting San Beda head coach Jamike Jarin to remark at the half, “We are winning at the moment, but San Beda is also beating us.”
Jarin referred to Caracut, the former San Beda Red Cubs star who led the squad to a couple of NCAA Juniors crowns.
For the 5-foot-10 Caracut, playing against his former school was awkward at first, but he got over it pretty quick.
“There was a lot of pressure and excitement before the game,” recalled Caracut. “Nung warm-ups, nasa side ako ng San Beda at marami yung tumatawag sa akin. Di ko alam kung paano sila kakausapin ng isa-isa kasi kailangan mag-focus.”
Caracut strafed San Beda with 22, points including including six-for-eight shooting from the three-point arc. The Green Archer rookie drilled four in the first half to stay within striking distance of San Beda. La Salle managed to forge overtime but eventually ran out of steam, losing 86-80.
“Excited din ako talaga maglaro na suot 'yung jersey ng La Salle. Binigay ko 'yung best ko sa kanila to help us win the game (against San Beda).”
Caracut’s presence gives hope to the Green Archers for the last three Bedan snipers to wear the green and white led them to glory. There was Renren Ritualo and JVee Casio, both long range gunners, who made their mark in college and the professional ranks.
Ritualo led La Salle to a four-peat from 1998-2001, while Casio won a UAAP championship in 2007.
Said Ritualo of Caracut’s performance: “I heard Andrei played well in his formal debut for La Salle. My thoughts? Just keep what he is doing and improve in every practice and games that he'll play. And of course, study well. Studies comes first.”
Caracut was starry-eyed with the endorsement of Ritualo. “Sana nga magawa ko rin yung mga nagawa nila before or mahigitan pa. 'Yun 'yung magiging motivation and inspiration ko.”
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.