UAAP: New coach looks to develop UP's chemistry despite short prep time

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2021 04:04 PM

New UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde. File photo. UAAP Media.
New UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde. File photo. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- Developing chemistry will be among the biggest challenges of new University of the Philippines (UP) head coach Goldwyn Monteverde as he takes charge of the Fighting Maroons.

Monteverde was named the new head coach of the UP men's basketball team in August, after the resignation of Bo Perasol who led the Fighting Maroons to back-to-back Final 4 appearances in UAAP Seasons 81 and 82.

Due to restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maroons are still doing online training as of the moment but face-to-face practices are expected to resume soon. The UAAP has penciled February 2022 as the tentative start of their 84th season.

For Monteverde, the first order of business is to assess the players that he inherited from Perasol, many of whom are not unfamiliar to him.

"Right now 'pag tinitingnan ko 'yung picture right now ng mga players na nasa lineup, kasi most of them naman, naging kalaban ko na rin noong high school," he noted in an interview with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on "Power and Play" recently.

Even before Monteverde was hired, UP had already gotten commitments from some players that he coached at the Nazareth School of National University in high school, namely Carl Tamayo, Terrence Fortea and Gerry Abadiano.

UP will also have high-profile transferee CJ Cansino, as well as Ricci Rivero and center Malick Diouf.

"Pero hindi mo pwede i-envision siya in a way na nakita ko sila before, kasi dalawang taon din ang dumaan eh," Monteverde said of his players.

"First thing siguro, makita muna kung ano bang sitwasyon ng team ngayon, saan ba kami nakalugar ngayon. Anong sitwasyon ng mga player, and then from there, we'll just have to do what is necessary to bring up the team," he added. 

As early as now, Monteverde likes the mix of veterans and rookies in his squad. UP lost several players from the Season 82 squad that made the Final 4, including brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liano, and Mythical Team member Kobe Paras. 

But having Rivero and Cansino -- both veterans -- will be crucial, while Tamayo also gained plenty of experience in the past months through his stints with the Philippine national basketball team.

The question, however, is how to get the players to mesh with each other given the brief preparation time that they are afforded. Unlike other seasons wherein UAAP teams have months to prepare, coaches are now bracing for a compact training camp.

"May mga players dito, for example, sila Carl Tamayo, RC Calimag, sila Gerry Abadiano na na-miss out nila 'yung possible experience nila na two seasons na eh. So, basically 'yung dalawang season, malaking bagay para sa player 'yun eh, or even sa isang team, 'yung chemistry ng team," Monteverde pointed out.

"Kung dalawang taon na walang experience, malaking bagay 'yung nawala. So siguro ang kulang lang dito, siguro 'yung more time together. Kung February nga 'yung UAAP, 'yun 'yung isang bagay, that's one of the challenge na haharapin ng team, kung paano magkaroon ng chemistry in such a short time of preparation," he added.

Monteverde said he has no complaints about the schedule they have been given, especially with each school in the same boat. Right now, they are making sure that their players are in good condition and ready to plunge into action when face-to-face practices resume.

"Sa normal situation, kulang 'yun," Monteverde said of the few months they have to prepare for the UAAP Season 84.

"Pero tayo naman, kung ano ang sitwasyon naman at hand, we just have to do what we have to do para ma-prepare 'yung team. So sa akin, kung two months ang ibibigay or three months, we just have to work within that time frame," he added.