MANILA, Philippines – After spending most of his third year in the UAAP sidelined with a fractured foot, De La Salle University Green Archers point guard Thomas Torres is eager to have a successful comeback campaign in the 2015 season.
Speaking to the media following DLSU’s 84-82 victory against UST in the last day of the 2015 FilOil preseason tournament eliminations on Saturday, June 6, Torres talked about the difficult year he had in 2014 dealing with his injury while watching his teammates from the bench.
“It’s a bounce-back year for me, since I was frustrated last year,” said Torres, who played only two games in the elimination round of last season and returned for the team’s virtual best-of-3 against FEU in the Final Four round but was a non-factor. He averaged just 3 points and 1.8 assists a game in 4 games in 2014.
“I think in the second game [against rival Ateneo], I got injured and I wasn’t able to play. I was sidelined and I was sad of course that I couldn’t help my team. But now I’m getting my confidence back each day.”
That confidence was on full display against the Growling Tigers on Saturday, when Torres scored 12 points in the tightly-fought fourth quarter and finished with 26 for the game to go with 9 rebounds and 5 3-pointers.
More than his contributions on the statistical sheet, Torres was impressively playing the role of court general for Green Archers head coach Juno Sauler. He was running the offense, making timely passes to the post for big man Jason Perkins, and was barking out assignments on defense.
The fourth-year point guard’s intensity was also on full display. There were moments where he would clinch his fists and let out a scream after a big rebound or made 3-ball, along with being very local with the referees and his teammates.
“Gusto ni coach, yung intensity ko, how I play on the court, gusto niya ganon ako kasi if you play like that, nabibigay mo sa team and na bo-boost yung mga teammates mo so I think it’s a good thing,” Torres said.
(Coach wants me to be intense on the court because if you play like that, it boosts your teammates so I think it’s a good thing.)
“I’m one of the players na gusto ni coach na ganon ako para yung intensity namin and how we play the game, mas maganda.”
(I’m one of the players that coach wants to be like that so that our intensity and approach to the game is better.)
“I’m in my fourth year, so there are much bigger responsibilities given to me.”
Torres says he takes those responsibilities very seriously, especially with La Salle aiming for a bounce-back campaign. The Green Archers won the UAAP men’s basketball title in 2013, but were eliminated by FEU in the Final Four round last year.
During DLSU’s title season, Torres played the back-up point guard role with current KIA Carnival starting PG LA Revilla directing La Salle’s starting unit. According to Torres, the lessons he learned from Revilla have helped mold him into the player he is today, while the PBA player's success in the pros have been a source of inspiration.
“Fourth year na ako and yung two years of playing ko, I gained a lot from that and we won a championship pa. I gained a lot from LA [Revilla] pa,” he said.
(I’m already in my fourth year and the two years I played, I gained a lot from that and we also won a championship. I also gained a lot from LA Revilla.)
Revilla is currently averaging 11 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game in the PBA Governors’ Cup, per pba-online.net.
“He’s playing really well sa PBA. Ang sarap na siya yung naging mentor ko. Sakanya ako kumuha nang advices and now, I’m just applying it.”
(He’s playing really well in the PBA. It’s great that he was my mentor. I got advices from him and now I’m just applying it.)
“He was a big help to me.”
Torres and the Green Archers will be back in FilOil action on Wednesday, June 10, when they take on the UPHSD Altas in the tournament quarterfinals.