UAAP: Fortea embraces change in role as UP's back-up PG

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2022 09:45 PM

Terrence Fortea (11) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons during their match against the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers for the opening games of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, October 1, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines -- Even with UAAP Season 84 hero JD Cagulangan at the sidelines, the University of the Philippines still got off to a victorious start in their title-retention bid in UAAP Season 85.

Carl Tamayo deservedly got plaudits for his 18-point, 19-rebound outing that included a clutch jump shot and insurance free throws, but UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde also hailed their point guard, Terrence Fortea, for his solid effort on Saturday night.

The UP coaching staff opted not to play Cagulangan as he is still recovering from a minor muscle issue, and Fortea showed that he was more than capable of stepping in to fill in Cagulangan's shoes.

Fortea had 15 points and nine assists in 27 minutes, and got away with a six-turnover game after UP completed a come-from-behind 72-69 win against De La Salle University at the Mall of Asia Arena.

"In-accept ko lang yung challenge na wala si JD," Fortea said after the game. "In-accept ko lang nang mas maayos para matulungan ko yung team."

"Alam ko naman na backup lang ako ni JD, pero di naman yun rason. Kung wala yung kapatid namin, kami yung magse-step up," he added.

Fortea is not a natural point guard; he was a volume scorer during his high school days with the Nazareth School of National University, where he was part of three championship teams. But Monteverde helped him develop into a point guard at the collegiate level, a challenge that Fortea has embraced. 

It's a work in progress, as his six turnovers show, but Monteverde is pleased with the strides that Fortea has made in just two years as a collegiate player.

"Sa NU kasi, he's more of a 2-guard, siya 'yung scorer," noted Monteverde, who coached Fortea in high school. "Ito 'yung malaking challenge being a point guard. Ikaw yung magfa-facilitate ng opensa rather than focusing on scoring."

"I think from last season compared sa ngayon, malaki na rin yung inimprove niya sa position na yun. Maganda lang kasi, in-embrace na rin niya yung pagiging point guard," he added. "I'm sure he’s going to improve more sa position niya."

Fortea, for his part, is grateful for the guidance and the trust.

"Sa 'kin naman, sinasabi lang sakin ni Coach Gold na kung ano yung mangyari sa game, pag-isipan ko lang nang maayos," he explained. "Yung tiwala naman sa 'kin ni Coach Gold, nandiyan naman eh. Nilabas ko lang yung laro ko kaya ako nakakuha ng assists, shots."

Cagulangan is expected to return to action by UP's next game, but Fortea is expected to keep getting minutes from Monteverde after a solid start to his sophomore season.

"First game pa lang namin," said Fortea. "Alam namin 'tong game na 'to, marami kaming natutunan para sa mga upcoming games namin."

"Siguro masaya lang ako kasi kahit anong mangyari kanina sa game, kahit nalamangan kami, yung pride namin as a team, pinakita pa rin namin na gusto naming manalo," he added.

Catch replays of UAAP Season 84 games via the UAAP Varsity channel on iWantTFC, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.