By Miguel La Torre
After losing eight of his vital players in both the seniors and juniors division due to graduation, Letran Chess team head coach Roland Perez took the off-season very well and enlisted ten new faces to reinforce his team.
Given his title as a National Chess Master, recruiting players to toughen up his team came quite easy for Perez. “’Yung reputation ko as an excellent coach, ‘yun na mismo ‘yung nag convince sa kanila,” Perez said.
The 11-time coach of the year wasted no time during the off-season. After recruiting players, he immediately gave his team advanced trainings for their Season 92 championship conquest.
“We recruited top junior players all over the Philippines. After that, nag-training na kami nang maaga at in-expose na ‘yung mga sarili namin through tournaments to get ready for NCAA,” he said.
In order for them to successfully defend their title, Perez engages them in a lot of tough mental trainings to sharpen their minds.
“Meron kaming tinatawag na blindfold chess wherein we have to imagine the movement of the pieces without the chess board,” he explained.
“It is to make sure that they can really use their mind to visualize the movements,” he stated. In those training sessions, the loser will always have to treat his victor. Ang idea nun is to really toughen them up,” he added.
Perez’ job of being a coach does not only apply to chess as he always reminds his players to train not just with the boards but also with proper character.
“I continuously talk to them regarding certain attitudes that they must improve upon, I always tell them about character building when it comes to playing chess.
Why? because that is one of their wealth. Sinasabi ko sa kanila na hindi maganda yung champion ka pero pangit ang ugali mo,” he expressed.
“They have to be not only a good player but also a good person, as well as a student, because being a student is one of the keys to have a better future,” he added.
The Letran Chess team opened their campaign last August 18, Saturday, at the Malayan High School of Science.