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La Salle sticks with old tactic

Bea Micaller

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JAMIE Malonzo (right) emerges as one of the best “one-and-done” players in UAAP Season 82. / PHOTOGRAPH courtesy of UAAP

De La Salle University will continue banking on its “one-and-done” tactic when it sees action in Season 83 of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.

La Salle head coach Derrick Pumaren said they would deploy foreign-based players even for just one season, similar to what they did last year when they paraded Jamie Malonzo, James Laput and Keyshawn Meeker.

The seasoned mentor said they already have some names in mind, but talks were halted after the league was thrown in disarray due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“Yes, we’re eyeing ‘one-and-done’ players, but it has yet to be finalized because of the pandemic,” Pumaren, who will be making a homecoming to La Salle, said.

“We can’t go any further with the talks because we’re stuck at home and, right now, we are busy with the team’s home workouts.”

Last year, the Green Archers were one of the few schools that took advantage with the ruling, which is popularly known as the “Troy Rike Rule.”

The rule states that a player would be allowed to play in any UAAP team without undergoing a one-year residency provided that he already finished his undergraduate studies and is still within the prescribed age limit of 25 years old.

With that, La Salle recruited the troika of Malonzo, Laput and Meeker from the United States while University of the East tapped former Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. Most Valuable Player Rey Suerte and Jed Mendoza, Adamson University had Val Chauca and University of the Philippines paraded Jaybie Mantilla.

But of the transferees, it was the Filipino-African Malonzo, a former star at the Portland State University, who quickly adjusted as he posted 14.2 points and 9.7 rebounds to land in the Mythical Team selection.

Meeker and Laput, on the other hand, were reduced into mere bench players after struggling with injuries that doomed the Green Archers’ Final Four chances.

Meeker, an Illinois State University graduate, suffered a sprained wrist and tendonitis in the early stretch of the season while Laput, who played Division II basketball for Young Harris College, sustained foot injury, prompting him to suit up for only six games with forgettable averages of 2.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.

Still, Pumaren considers the “one-and-done” formula successful.

“We’ve lost a lot of players especially the ‘one-and-done’ players and the sad part right now is that we do not have time to really prepare,” he said.

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