Schonny Winston makes immediate impact for La Salle
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle’s Filipino-American recruit Schonny Winston made waves when he introduced his name in the UAAP.
The 23-year-old guard from Central Michigan University of NCAA Division 1 unloaded 22 points, six rebounds and three steals as La Salle staved off a late surge by University of the East, 71-66, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday evening at Mall of Asia Arena.
Winston, who was a vital piece for the Chippewas in the 2019-20 season with 5.9 points, 2.3 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in 32 games, said his objective remains the same, playing in a more passionate and more competitive environment in the Philippines.
“The objective is the same,” he said. “Playing here in the Philippines is, I feel like, there’s more passion with the players, and there’s more fire with the players. I’ve noticed that with my own teammates practicing with me. It’s more competitive and they always bring fire.”
La Salle’s new coach Derrick Pumaren was hardly surprised with Winston’s explosive debut despite changing his role from guard to winger to fill in the void of injured Josh David.
“We kinda expected what he can do. Things weren’t going right for us, but he made some big shots in the end, he made the big three and I think that gave us the cushion,” Pumaren said. “He can do a lot of good things for us. He’s not playing his natural position because of the injury to Josh David, so I had to put him in the wing position.”
The 6-foot-4 Winston said he just followed Pumaren’s defensive game plan that led to his great offensive outing.
“I scored some good points. I tried to get a lot of steals and easy layups. That’s usually what we try to do. We try to press, and make the team feel it so we can get the easy baskets,” said Winston. “It could be anybody on our team who can get these numbers with the defense that we play, getting easy steals.”
Winston said his impressive debut in their first win is just the start of La Salle’s exciting times, stressing there are still a lot of things to expect from his team moving forward.
“You should expect a lot of things from La Salle. I love my guys, Evan (Nelle), Balti (Baltazar), and Mark (Nonoy,” he said. “They’ve really helped me with the transition here. Made me feel like family from the jump, so I couldn’t ask for better teammates, and a better coach.”