UAAP rookie Francis Escandor sat on the bench as he watched his team De La Salle University Green Archers begin their season. It may have been on the wrong foot–bowing to archrival Ateneo Blue Eagles, 81-69, in another epic battle on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum–but the team took it as part of the learning process for the re-tooled squad.
The promising cager from Davao City said he is grateful for the new opportunity in his continuing basketball journey from his SBP days at the Ateneo de Davao University back home.
“I thank God and my coaches for this opportunity to play for La Salle,” the 20-year old Escandor said. “It has always been my dream to play in this level.”
DLSU’s brand new coaching staff of Gian Nazario and active consultant Jermaine Byrd used only seven men against the defending champions.
The 6-3 combo guard knows as a rookie, there will be more time to spend on the bench in this ‘watch and learn process.’
Making it to the Green and White squad which owns one of the winningest traditions in the Philippine collegiate basketball landscape is already a milestone of sorts. Donning his favorite number 18 with the Green Archers is indeed a pretty tall order as he worked his ass off trying to make the star-studded team.
Escandor, who was also a member of the De La Salle Zobel’s UAAP varsity squad in senior high school, was one of 10 new additions to the line-up which barely missed its third straight Final Four appearance last year by a basket.
Aside from the son of Presidential adviser for Sports Glenn Escandor, the new additions to the Green Archers’ fold are Jordan Bartlett, Joel Cagulangan, Ralph Cu, Tyrus Hill, Donn Lim, Kurt Lojera, Jamie Malonzo, Keyshawn Meeker and James Pado.
La Salle actually made silent masterstrokes in the offseason by acquiring the services of Malonzo, Meeker, and Pado. who have four years of experience of USA collegiate basketball. According to The Lasallian webpage, the Fil-Am recruits are expected to showcase maturity and leadership in their one-and-done season for the Green Archers.
Bartlett, Hill, and Lojera had just finished serving residency.
The holdovers of the squad are Justine Baltazar, Brandon Bates, Andrei Caracut, Joaqui Manuel, Aljun Melecio and Encho Serrano.
La Salle lost Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, Kib Montalbo, Taane Samuel, and Leonard Santillan to graduation.