June 25, 2024

Jonnel Policarpio takes on bigger role for La Salle ahead of title defense in UAAP Season 87

Jonnel Policarpio takes on bigger role for La Salle ahead of title defense in UAAP Season 87
Jonnel Policarpio led the way in the DLSU Green Archers' semifinal win over the Letran Knights in the FilOil Preseason Cup. | Photo (c) FilOil EcoOil Sports

De La Salle University is bracing for a tough battle as they strive to secure back-to-back UAAP men’s basketball titles in the upcoming Season 87.

The Green Archers bid goodbye to several key pieces during their championship run in Season 86, including Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, Francis Escandor, and Ben Phillips.

Fortunately for DLSU, they will still have superstar Kevin Quiambao and other key pieces, including rising star Jonnel Policarpio.

Policarpio, for one, will take on a bigger role for the Green Archers heading into Season 87.

In Season 86, Policarpio averaged 6.69 points, 4.63 rebounds, and 2.19 assists per game for DLSU, coming up big as well in the Finals against the University of the Philippines.

But as early as their preseason tournaments, the 6-foot-4 guard has been taking charge for the Taft-based squad.

[ALSO READ: La Salle nearly blows 24-point lead, but Green Archers hold off Letran to enter FilOil Preseason Cup Finals]

La Salle has so far bagged two preseason titles, namely the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup and, most recently, the PinoyLiga Collegiate Cup S3.

Despite the pressure that comes with defending the title and the earful he has been receiving from coach Topex Robinson, Policarpio is welcoming all the lessons and challenges that come his way.

“Para sa akin naman, si coach [Topex], pag pinapagalitan ako, mas gusto ko 'yun eh kasi binubuhay niya ako eh. Mas gusto ko 'yun kasi nalalabas ko 'yung laro ko. Nilalabas niya ako tas balik niya ako agad,” said Policarpio.

Meanwhile, Robinson acknowledged Policarpio's growth, emphasizing his importance to the team.

“[Policarpio] really grew into the person that he is right now because of all the things that he's done wrong. He took it as an opportunity for him to know that, first, he doesn't know everything, and then he doesn't have to pretend na alam niya lahat, so the talent of Poli is really something that's a blessing to us,” said Robinson.

[ALSO READ: Kevin Quiambao, DLSU Green Archers to represent PH in upcoming WUBS 2024 in Japan]

The Green Archers will look to add another preseason title to their belt as they face the Fighting Maroons in the final of the 17th Filoil EcoOil ECJ Preseason Cup on Wednesday, June 12, at the FilOil EcoOil Center in San Juan City.