Perhaps the most enduring attraction of the UAAP is seeing new players compete in the fabled collegiate league straight after they graduate from high school.
The excitement brought about by prized recruits who showcase their capabilities against veteran opposition excites fans and gives them hope that they can be the missing pieces in what could be a run towards the post-season or the championship itself.
The DLSU Men’s Football Team is no stranger to this feeling. In fact, the squad welcomes 13 rookies for Season 81 with only nine holdovers from last year. One of these fresh faces for the Green & White is Shanden Vergara, a newcomer from De La Salle Zobel.
The San Carlos City native enters Taft as a two-time finalist from the Juniors Division. In both occasions, he and the rest of the Junior Archers folded to the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws in heartbreaking fashion.
How are you adjusting to life in Taft?
For me it’s the same kasi same coaches, same environment like the Lasallian community. I used to train with them when was in Zobel for the last two years. Some players, I know (like) Gyan (De Vera), Jed (Diamante) and others.
It’s a challenging one because high school is different from college because college plays really, really tough and the players are well experienced and it’s gonna be competitive.
What is your biggest motivation to play for DLSU since your arrival from De La Salle Zobel?
I will learn from what happened in the last two years which we lost two consecutive finals (to FEU). It was disappointing but I’ll take it as a lesson and I hope that this year we will get the championship.
How has life been so far in pre-season?
We ended the pre-season tournaments on a high note. We won Ang Liga, we played better teams when we played in Sagay, Negros Occidental, and I hope that we’ll not think that we’re better than the other teams just because we won but we’ll think of a more positive mindset for this upcoming season. I hope that I’ll contribute more for this team.
What position will you play in this year?
I played midfield in Zobel but right now I play as a striker because of the coaches’ decision. I’ll just accept what the coaches want. Before it was different but I adjusted and I just keep on training and perform well. I give my best to earn the spot. I get what I deserve.
How are you and your fellow newcomers coexisting with your senior teammates?
Minsan nahihirapan silang mag-kontrol sa amin kasi madami kami. Pero ok naman. Hindi siya parang may barriers dahil sa seniority. Nakaka-mingle naman sila sa amin and then we have a good relationship with each other. The team is very good.
Paano nila na-address yung team, paano nila na-handle yung mga problema, yung mga kailangan ayusin, yung disiplina.
How can you and your fellow rookies contribute to the Green & White?
Since we are rookies, some people say that we are pressured and that we don’t know the college level but that’s wrong. It depends on the person kung paano niya dalhin yung sarili niya sa ganyan na level. We hope that we can play better na kaming mga rookies makakasabay sa laro and mapatunayan namin yung pagka-rookie namin.
What do you hope to achieve in Season 81?
I just want to bring happiness to the Lasallian community since a lot of people expect from us because a lot of us are rookies. I hope that after two years of losing in the finals, I hope that this year won’t be the same. We’ll do our best in every game and we continue to strive more not just this year but also for the following years.