I sat down with Juami Tiongson, JV Dumrique, Al Bugarin, and Ael Banal one afternoon during the shoot for adidas' The Brotherhood at Moro Lorenzo. Here's what these kids had to say:
Rick: adidas' new campaign is called "The Brotherhood." Does this mean anything to you as a player and as a team?
Juami: Well "the brotherhood" takes the team concept further. We become more than just teammates. We're parts of a whole.
JV: (pointing to Tiongson) I consider Juami a brother. Just like my real brother Chucky is to me. It's an understanding and closeness you develop having been together competing for the school for sometime.
Juami: Yeah, he told me to shape my game up after the finals (everyone laughs).
Ael: We're going to need everyone to make sacrifices and to surrender themselves to the team concept and team goal which is to win.
Al: Ah, nasabi na nila lahat.
JV: Palusot! (everyone laughs)
Al: The loss (to DLSZ) should be a learning experience for us. Parang if we really want something, all of us have to just do our jobs until the final outcome. Siguro kulang pa kami kaya hindi para sa amin.
Juami: Bumawi si Shaq (referring to Bugarin).
Rick: Does being a "brother" to another player mean more than being a teammate?
Ael: Yeah. That means there's a greater involvement. Hindi lang kami taga-execute ng plays. Parang may stake kami lahat sa goals namin.
Juami: It means that we are a team that cares about everyone's performance. In fact, next season, we're dedicating it to the seniors who won't be playing with us anymore. We think that's a sign that we really care for the team.
JV: Yes, it does mean more kasi we're all more involved and more concerned with what goes on. Like the saying goes, "it's all about the team not individuals."
Al: Sinabi na nila lahat (everyone breaks out in laughter). Totoo naman (he jokingly protests).
Rick: I'll let you pass on this one. (more laughter). Pero you have to run suicides later (even more laughter).
Rick: It's not about "me" but "we." Does this have any meaning to you at all?
Juami: Yes, I should have done more during Game 2. Parang nawala ako. I should have done other things to win even if I wasn't shooting well. As team captain there's a bigger responsibility. That's leading by example. It's never about the stats.
JV: It shouldn't be. No one remembers who scores a lot of points. But they remember who won. I think that means for all of us to learn to trust one another more and do more.
Ael: Ah, it's going beyond one's self. If I wasn't scoring anymore, I should have played better defense and rebound more. It's helping out my teammates who were getting beaten by their man.
Rick: You're on the hot seat, Al. (laughter by all).
Al: It means a lot to me. (the others break out into expressions of "Naks!") We have to get better as a team and help each other out on the court. Kahit pag masama yung game ng isa, we encourage each other. We play harder. We do all the things the coach asks -- pati na yung small things na -- yung mga hustle points that don't show up.
Juami: Yeah, we relaxed when we shouldn't have. Lalo na ako. But I, we will learn from this.
Rick: Thanks, guys. Good luck next year.