For University of the Philippines (UP) head coach Goldwin Monteverde, team chemistry will be one of his main concerns when they begin their title retention campaign in the coming UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament.
The Fighting Maroons ended a 36-year title drought by toppling the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the finals of Season 84, but Monteverde believes they still have a lot to work on in terms of cohesiveness.
"Sabi nga nila two seasons (nang magkakasama ang mga players natin) pero actually wala pang isang taong magkakasama ang mga to," said Monteverde in an interview on Off the Record with Migs and Cesca.
"I think it will be still a challenge, ang chemistry pagdating namin ng Season 85."
The champion team is virtually intact minus Noah Webb, Ricci Rivero and CJ Cansino. Rivero will be playing in a Taiwanese ball club, while Cansino has to recover rom surgery.
That means, JD Cagulangan, Zavier Lucero, Finals MVP Malick Diouf, and reigning Rookie of the Year Carl Tamayo will need to take over to beef up UP's title defense.
There will also be additions including Cyril Gonzalez and Henry Galinato Jr. which adds to the issue of team chemistry.
"Ang basketball kasi iisipin mo isushoot lang ang bola. Pero it's also siyempre how to get the best shot, how to get the teammate get the ball at the best possible spot, setting up the screen. Lahat may kasamang teamwork," said Monteverde.
One of the keys, he believes, in achieving his is patience.
"Minsan nachachallenge siya in a way 'yung emosyon 'di natin masabi," said Monteverde. "'Pag nadala ka sa emosyon mo, minsan 'yung team mo nawawala na sa isip mo, nawawala ang rhythm ng team."
But Monteverde believes UP will do good in Season 85.
"Ganoon naman lagi pag nagstart ka laging may feeling na 'Handa na ba?' Pero as we go along it's always a work in progress," he said.
"May mga players tayong nakakasama, may bago. It's just a part of it. Kung paano kami magtulungan, paanong mailabas ang full potential ng team namin as a group."