MANILA, Philippines – Adamson head coach Kenneth Duremdes had pinned his hopes on his few veteran players to lead the Soaring Falcons in their game against Ateneo last Sunday, and was disappointed to see them fall apart.
Jansen Rios, Don Trollano, Ryan Monteclaro and Axel Inigo were all supposed to be the leaders of the young Adamson squad this year, but all of them played poorly in the Falcons' 57-79 setback to the Blue Eagles in their first game of the season.
"It was the first time, first game for everyone, except for my veterans," said Duremdes. "Pero parang nasama sila doon sa nangyari."
"We're expecting Trollano and Inigo and Monteclaro to fill in (and deal with) the pressure, pero nasama din sila," he said.
The trouble for Adamson began when Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena drew three fouls on Rios in the first three minutes of the game, prompting Duremdes to sub out the veteran guard and put a rookie in.
"We reminded Rios to focus on Kiefer at the start of the game. Kung nakita niyo, noong naka-three fouls siya, doon na bumuhos si Kiefer," said Duremdes. "But assignment player siya kay Kiefer… Noong naka-three fouls an si Rios, the next guy was a rookie, so wala na. Nanlaki mata ni Kiefer noong nakita niya na rookie."
"And we reminded him (Rios) to stay away from fouls, kasi siya lang ang tingin ko diyan na veteran na, at least, makaka-contain kay Kiefer kahit papaano. Wala, hindi nangyari because foul trouble kaagad," he rued.
Trollano, another veteran, succumbed to cramps in the second half. Duremdes revealed that Trollano "was so pressured right from the start" of the game and felt that it was his responsibility to lead the Falcons.
"Pero sabi namin sa kanya… we will not throw all the load on you. You have to go with the system. Trust your teammates," said Duremdes. "Eh ayun, parang nasama na din siya doon sa pressure, na he feels he can take over anytime."
Instead, Trollano committed errors and got away from the plays and took bad shots, said Duremdes.
"Medyo nasama din siya," said the coach. "But again, we know that Trollano can play."
After a poor start to their season, Duremdes is hoping that his players can quickly grow up so they can be competitive. This will take a total team effort, said the former King Falcon, and this is something he wants to impress upon his young players.
"(We need) to go back sa kung ano 'yung ginagawa ng team, kung ano 'yung strength natin, which is run the plays, set up the plays, find the open men, run the break," said Duremdes.
"'Yun lang naman ang kaya naming i-offer as a team eh. We don't have a go-to guy. Lagi namin ine-emphasize 'yun. Wala tayong go-to guy, so you have to work together, offensively and defensively," he stressed.