This season, the players that are consistently carrying much of the scoring load for the Green Archers are Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar. But in last Wednesday’s 20-point win over the UE Red Warriors, it was different pair this time that led the way.
There was rookie Encho Serrano with his best performance so far with 18 points and 6 rebounds despite battling a flu.
And the other player who stood out (and it’s about time) was Andrei Caracut who finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. But looking beyond the stats, it was a different Andrei that showed up in this game. He displayed that level of aggressiveness on offense we have not seen since he was a rookie back in 2015.
We know very well what Andrei can do. He led his high school team San Beda to the NCAA Juniors Championship in 2014 and was named MVP in the finals. Averaging close to 10 points per game in his freshman year with the Green Archers, he was awarded as the season’s top rookie.
Unfortunately in the couple of years that followed, with a coaching change and the continuous entry of other talented recruits, he was not able to build on his rookie campaign as his scoring average dipped to just 5.9 in the last two seasons.
Now entering his fourth year, more is expected from him as he was named co-team captain. But as he continues to average single-digits in scoring this season, head coach Louie Gonzalez had to do something to regain his old form.
Something had to change according to Louie Gonzalez – his third coach in four years.
“Actually, sinabihan ko nga siya yesterday na, ‘Andrei, you need to change whatever you’re doing right now, ’cause it’s different now.’
“Siguro nasanay siya for the last two years na ganon ang routine niya, parang nagiging pareho lang,”
“I spoke to him since before the Adamson game, that I need him, I need him, I need him to get his confidence back, kasi talagang malaki ang role niya sa team na ‘to,” added Gonzalez. “Hindi lang bilang co-captain sila ni Kib, pero Andrei himself, alam naman natin kung ano ang kaya niyang ibigay eh.”
For the product of San Beda Taytay, he never lost confidence in himself. He just needed someone to believe in him again.
“Sa akin naman talaga, kahit nung first game palang until now yung kumpyansa ko buong buo talaga. Hindi ko lang alam kung paano ko gagamitin yung kumpyansa na yun offensively, pero defensively marami naman akong natutulong.
Next in line as the team’s leader, we hope to see Andrei step up and be consistent. If the Green Archers are to make headway this season, they would need him to be more than just a facilitator.
It was vintage Andrei Caracut we saw last Wednesday. We know it’s just 3 years ago but for us who believe in his potential, it’s already been a long time coming.