National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Juniors’ Football Tournament fourth seed Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) vowed to be more aggressive in their Final Four campaign.
Letran High School head coach Xarex Velasquez said they will aim to be more threatening to their foes.
“A different thing that we will improve is that when we play against our opponents in the second round, we will be looking to be more aggressive on our attacks,” he told The Manila Times.
Velasquez added that they would go hard against the much-favored opposition in the next phase of the NCAA Juniors tilt.
“In the first round we tried to play it safe and played a bit more defensive during our games. We will not play to get a draw in the next round. We will really push ourselves to try and get wins against our opponents,” he said.
Velasquez explained that it would be a gamble to change the system that gave them a ticket to the semis but on the other hand, it would be a good experiment for his wards.
“It will be risky for our squad but being the last placers in the Final Four and no one expected us to be here, it will be a good thing to try,” he said.
The Squires surprised their opposition this season by clinching the last semis spot considering their dismal performance last year. They registered a total of three wins, two losses and a draw during the initial stage of the competition for 10 points.
Despite opening the tilt with a 0-2 loss to San Beda College, Letran managed to elicit a 1-1 draw against defending champions La Salle Greenhills in their second game.
Letran picked up their pace in the third game to barge into the winners’ column with a 4-0 victory against Lyceum of the Philippines University before suffering a loss against Arellano University, 3-0.
Before ending the round, Letran notched their biggest wins so far after dispatching host University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 8-0, and Emilio Aguinaldo College, 8-1.
“Going into the second round, complacency will be our biggest problem because we are not used to hard fought games, which will be our difference from the other teams,” Velasquez said.
He also stressed the importance of conditioning considering they do not have regular training sessions and their own training facility.
“Actually, conditioning is one thing that we are looking at. But for now, I guess we cannot really change anything because as of the moment we don’t have our own football field.”
Velasquez said that they try to make do with what they have employing regular tactical plans.
“Because we don’t have a training field, my training for our tactics will be all done on a board but the actual execution of that will still be a problem for us.”
Despite the challenges, Velasquez is still positive on their upcoming campaign against the top guns of juniors NCAA.
“I think skills-wise, my boys are ready but the Final Four round needs a whole different level of determination and dedication. The way I see it, the championship in the NCAA is won by whoever wants it more and plays harder.”
Letran will be competing against champions LSGH Greenies, top seeds SBC Red Cubs and AU Braves starting January 6.