Through the years, San Beda has become the breeding ground of future basketball stars who made their mark in the PBA.
From PBA hall-of-famers Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc, champion coach Eric Altamirano, former star-point guards Dindo Pumaren and Gerry Esplana, and UAAP champion Ren-Ren Ritualo to name a few, San Beda’s program when it comes to youth basketball has been a cut above the rest, on that rival schools want to emulate.
The late coach Ato Badolato cultivated that program and his youth squads from the grade school to the high school levels were dominant.
Ritualo is among the products of Badolato’s system, a high-school standout whose success had him recruited by La Salle where he became a member of the four-peat champion teams in the UAAP.
His achievement made him one of the top prospects in the PBA where he earned a reputation as among the most feared gunners.
Ritualo is one among those who crossed over from San Beda to La Salle, and La Salle Greenhills program head Cholo Villanueva made the 6-foot-1 gunner the logical choice as head coach of the school basketball program.
With Ritualo at the helm, Villanueva is envisioning La Salle Greenhills to take the similar path to success of San Beda.
“We want to be one of the top programs just like the long history of great players from the San Beda program and the rich tradition that they have. Hiring our new head coach Ren-Ren Ritualo, who's a mix of La Sallian and Bedan blood is putting us in the right direction,” wrote Villanueva via Messenger to ABS-CBN News.
A veteran coach, Villanueva is embracing this new role of trying to cultivate a winning program with La Salle Greenhills.
“We want to put in place the right coaches who are educators that use the game of basketball as their venue to teach real life lessons which they can use beyond the Basketball and of course bring the winning culture to the La sallian community,” he added.
But most of all, Villanueva wants to come up with a vision of doing things the right way, which is to mold student-athletes — student comes first.
“We want to develop student-athletes that could help our La Salle college system in UAAP and NCAA. But if not be better individuals to be positive members of society and be a La Sallian gentleman,” he added.
With competition for massive recruitment of talents getting a lot stiffer, Villanueva remains confident that the system they’re putting in for La Salle Greenhills will be enough to attract more students to come and play for the school.
“Recruitment and grassroots development is the foundation of every program. As of now, we are in a rebuilding phase because of the pandemic but we will give our full effort to compete every game,” said Villanueva.