To this day by Therese Lim

To this day

The inaugural issue of The LaSallian was published on October 24, 1960, back when De La Salle University (DLSU) was still De La Salle College (DLSC), a full 15 years before being granted University status. In those days, the iconic St. Joseph Hall was barely four years old and the Taft Avenue campus still housed a high school that was eight years away from dissolution. At that time, even the barest idea of today’s familiar and modern campus fixtures, the 21-storey Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall and the Henry Sy Sr. Hall, were nonexistent.To this day by Therese Lim

Back then, La Salle’s athletes competed in the NCAA, not the UAAP, and the LRT, which now stands prominently along Taft Avenue, was 34 years away from its first day of operations. From a national perspective, it was 12 years before Filipinos would get a taste of the tyranny and dictatorship of Martial Law.

In that same year, President Carlos P. Garcia dedicated a portion of his State of the Nation Address to discuss the country’s graft and corruption problems. The anti-graft campaign of the sixties investigated over 12,000 cases of corruption and found over 4,000 officials guilty. “In spite of this creditable record of achievements,” Garcia maintained, “There still remains a tremendous amount of work to be done.”

Garcia probably did not know how right he was. Since then, the country’s corruption problem grew from bad to worse. The Philippines had seen seven presidents after Garcia, two of whom were thrown out of office after the 1986 and 2001 People Power Revolutions, respectively. One of these two “served” as president for 21 years while various accusations of graft and corruption have been hurled at others, particularly the more recent ones.

Today, the Philippines remains the ‘Sick Man of Asia,’ despite all of President Benigno Aquino III’s claims to the contrary. Though the Philippines’ recent increase in investment grade status and continued rise in economic and financial rankings is impressive and a positive indicator of growth, it is public knowledge that the country remains riddled with corruption, a social cancer that will hold back any long term progress. Economic growth remains a concept, not a reality felt by those who most desperately need it.

It has been 54 years since Garcia’s statement, yet the headlines today are still filled with stories of corruption, most notably regarding the ongoing investigations on former Makati City Mayor and current Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay. His is a case that involves the overpricing of government projects, undeclared assets, and under the table transactions, and it grows even larger by the day as more details are discovered and new alleged accomplices are revealed.

If there is anything that has remained constant in the past half-century, it is that the problem of corruption goes beyond one official and his cronies. Given proper time and investigation, the country could fill an entire hall of infamy, housing thousands of names and unimaginable amounts of taxpayers’ stolen money, which could have otherwise been allocated to programs that provide for the most basic needs of the poorest Filipinos. Philippine history continues to repeat itself, following the same script though employing different actors every few years. The names may change and certain details may vary, but the core issues remain the same.

Fifty-four years is too long a time to suffer at the hands of corrupt officials, and the years make the problem seem like a constant even if we have the power to make things different. DLSU is not a thing set apart from society, and Lasallians are, now more than ever, in the position to be catalysts of change, not just within the University, but in the context of the social, political, and economic life of the country. This may be a cliché hammered into our heads from years of privileged education, but it is nonetheless truthful and crucial today. Earlier generations have come and gone, and now it is our turn.

Just as it was 54 years ago, when DLSC students first put pen to paper and created this publication, the battle against corruption is of utmost importance. The pioneering editors had promised that The LaSallian “Will continue to serve the ideals of the students and the school it symbolizes,” and this is something that we strive to do to this day by delivering the truth and inspiring critical thinking.

We cannot just wait for things to change, but rather, we must examine how the wait is changing us. We must strive to do what we can to achieve genuine change on this day, and the next, until one, 10, or even 50 years have gone by. Fifty-four years after our first issue came to print, President Garcia’s words still ring true: There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. And we must do it.

 

 

sports

A ghost from the past: The early struggles of the DLSU Batters

Baseball was a relatively new sport for the Lasallian community back when the school first joined the UAAP in 1986. Although, despite the fact that many students were already familiar with the sport, the gameplay that is experienced in a collegiate league was still considered as an uncharted territory for both the team and the fans.

DLSU’s previous league, the NCAA, didn’t have “America’s National Pastime” as one of their yearly activities. While on the other hand, the sport has been a regular fixture in every UAAP season since its inception 77 years ago. Despite the short adjustment period, La Salle’s resident sluggers have moderate success in the pitch, winning a total of three championships (1995, 1999, and 2002) in the UAAP.

All of DLSU’s varsity teams always aim for the top when they compete for the school. While it may be a noble goal and one that is truly achievable, it is unavoidable that a team has a bad season at some point during their time. For this article, The LaSallian examines the team that placed last among six teams in that year’s tourney, the 2005 Green Batters squad.

The Green Batters entered the tournament in 2005 as a team under a three year championship drought, but evidently hungry to end the dry spell as soon as possible. This meant that other squads would not take them lightly even if the Green-and-White hasn’t performed as well as in previous years.

Back then, the team was led by captain John de los Santos. Being a DLSU Star Scholar taking up an engineering degree in addition to his varsity career made de los Santos a rarirty of an athlete. Another noteworthy player for them was Ervic Vijandre, who is more known as a model and actor at present rather as an athlete. He was also a member of the DLSU Green Archers Team B during his playing years, making him a dual-sport athlete. Joining them in the team was co-captain Arvin Cirunay, Jason Hipol, Sonny Calma, Lawrence Virina, Marco Alquiros, Christopher Tingzon, and Nico David.

With no star caliber players to booth, the Green Batters wanted to show that they can still compete with the best even with their situation. They put up a valiant effort every match, giving their rivals a big scare every time they played against them. The sluggers in green would even take the lead in the game during its initial stretches. Unfortunately, this was not enough to get them over the hump. Despite a rousing start to every game, the Batters would always falter in the end, usually by close margins. With the losses piling up one after another, the spirit of the team was broken. They finished the season not only in last place but also winless.

Captain de los Santos admitted that lack of chemistry and preparation led to their dismal season. Since many of the team’s players were rookies, an adjustment period was to be expected. While on the field, the Green Batters were easily outclassed by the opposing team’s veteran pitchers and basemen. This inexperience coupled with the lack of familiarity among the players put them in their undoing. Despite his comments, his teammates still held their captain high regard.

The drought from this team continued on for years. Barring the suspended season in 2006, La Salle would finish last place five more times in the next eight years. Their poor performance has dampened DLSU’s quest for the General Championship, alarming the school officials that the baseball program needed an immediate upgrade. It wasn’t until Season 76 that the Green Batters would become legitimate threats for the title contention.

Last year’s performance was a complete turnaround for DLSU’s baseball team. The squad finished at the top of the standings and cruised past competition in the eliminations with a 9-1 record. In the finals, they were tasked against their Ateneo counterparts, champions of the last two editions of the tournaments. Ultimately, the Batters would lose in two straight games to their rivals and finish as the runner-ups, which is the highest standing they reached since the early 2000s.

With the past behind them, the DLSU Green Batters will swing at full force as they aim to end the baseball curse that has haunted them for the past 12 years. Now equipped with a more talented roster and better preparations, there is no better time than now for them to finally grab that elusive title in one of the country’s most prestigious baseball competitions.

sports

Tempting the unkown: Night at Razon

Exactly a year ago, The LaSallian released an article recounting the overnight adventure of eight staffers who explored the depths of the unknown inside the main campus of De La Salle University. Limited by logistical and security concerns, last year’s quest involved just the areas and buildings enclosed within the University’s main campus.

Although armed with courage as they spent the darkest hours of dawn in search for what may exist, the entities that they encountered in their risky exploit gave them an unearthly welcome as they may have disturbed the other elements lurking within the walls of the University. A brief recap of the said quest narrates a black figure that was running up the St. Joseph Hall (SJ), seemingly trying to lure the group back to the fourth floor ladies’ room. Though uncertain of what- or who- it was, it could have been irked by the group’s intrusion, as the comfort room door, without any wind source except an unfamiliar chilly atmosphere, slammed shut, leaving the group with no choice but to stand back.

A year after, we continued the quest. But this time around, we are not to disturb the beings residing in SJ yet again, nor are we seeking the sources of the faint footsteps in St. La Salle Hall. This time around, we explored the training ground of La Salle’s student-athletes, the Enrique Razon Sports Center, simply known to students as the Razon building, and who inhabits the uncanny dark floors beyond the training hours.

 

Preliminaries at the home base: Seventh floor basketball court

This year’s team, composed of ten staffers, gathered in the seventh floor basketball court at nine in the evening of September 25. The building closes at 10 pm, and the group decided to start the journey after midnight strikes. To kill time, the group shared the various hair-rising stories that they sought to verify in the journey. Accounts of chain sounds being heard in the second floor ladies’ comfort room, a child running around the sixth floor parking lot, and dribbling sounds in an empty ninth floor basketball court were raised. As the clock struck twelve, the group gathered in a circle, saying a little prayer to protect them for what and who they may see, hear, and encounter in the risky adventure.

 

First stop: Ground floor and swimming pool area

The quest officially began as the proponents took the elevator to the ground floor. In an early twist of events though, the elevator stopped and opened its doors at the sixth floor. Knowing that the floor was allegedly haunted, the group freaked out, immediately pressing the ‘close’ button without considering what could have caused the elevator to stop at that floor. Whether it was an elevator glitch or not, the proponents composed themselves, sticking to the original plan of exploring the ground floor first.

Upon reaching the first floor, the group gathered near the guard’s desk. Since the guard patrols the building every night, the proponents asked for bits of his experiences. Although the guard admitted to having no spooky experiences yet since he was just recently assigned to the area, he shared a story about his coworker who fell asleep one night at the second floor and woke up feeling like he was being choked. Upon opening his eyes, the said worker allegedly saw a white figure heading towards the direction of the La Casita canteen. Also, according to the guard, the same story happened to a construction worker of a building being built across the street from Razon. As the construction worker was taking a nap, he woke up to the feeling of being choked as well. And upon opening his eyes, he saw a white figure, hanging itself from the second floor of the Razon building.

After the stories were told, the proponents continued their journey, heading to the locker area near the staircase. Things felt normal, and the area seemed uneventful as the lights from the nearby establishments lessened the darkness.

Using the front door, the group then entered the swimming pool area. The darkness made the trip more difficult than it really is and the slippery floor was also a bother. While circling the pool the atmosphere felt heavier than it was outside. What is usually a lively place filled with students students became a creepy area that looked abandoned with scattered gear surrounding the pool.

Midway through the trip, the second floor was now visible from the poolside. The stories about the “chains” and employees being choked at that place made it hard for the proponents to look up, although it actually felt like someone was watching from above. Although the aura felt unusual and different, things were also uneventful at the poolside, save for some unidentified white figures that were looking at the proponents from the second floor.

Thinking that those white figures may just be merely pieces of hanging cloth or other sorts of props from the second floor archery area, the group decided to verify it later on, and they continued to search other parts of the ground floor. After circling and exploring every part of the floor, the proponents went back to their home base, the seventh floor, to rest for a few minutes.

 

Second stop: Second, third, and fourth floors and the “erratic” elevators

At 1:30 am, the ten staffers decided to investigate the second, third, and fourth floors.

After two rounds at the second floor, the proponents left quite disappointed, as the place was uneventful with no signs of any unusual chain sounds or white ladies. What was clear though was the initial report of some eerie figures from the second floor archery area. A quick check of the archery area revealed no similar white objects that may resemble the figures that were “watching” the group as they were at the poolside.

It was not long until the proponents visited the third and fourth floors which house the parking area for faculty members and students alike. The wide spread of concrete gave off a feeling that someone was watching over them. But like the exploration of the second floor, the group found no unusual activity in the third and fourth floor parking lots.

In what could be telling of some mysteries at the building, what surprised the staffers was the erratic behavior of Razon’s elevators. It would visit different floors and open its doors constantly. Specifically, the elevator would always head back to the sixth floor even when the group used it for a different floor. When it was time to move, the elevator welcomed them with overload warnings. Again, whether this was a glitch or something beyond, the proponents felt one thing for sure – someone else was watching them.

Third leg: The fifth and sixth floors, and the “whistling” at the ninth

After they were all rested, the group used the elevator to go down to the fifth floor parking. It was empty, save for a couple of cars parked there. Disappointed, the group moved on to their next destination, the dreaded sixth floor. Instead of riding the elevator, they decided to use the ramp. A group of old armchairs eerily lined up in a single file was the first thing the proponents saw. Next to it were more chairs, all piled up as if they were carelessly thrown. Nothing unnatural happened so the group decided to take the elevator going to the ninth floor, unsuspecting of what was in store for them.

When the elevator door opened, one question hung in their minds. Is this really the ninth floor? The atmosphere was immensely different. It was noticeably colder and heavier. A cloud of darkness, so thick that it was impossible to see beyond a couple of meters from where they were standing, loomed before them. The absence of any sound made it all the more worse. All the courage they had built up ran away from them until the security guard, who was riding the other elevator, caught up to them. With newfound courage from the arrival of the trusty ‘kuya’ guard, they left their safe haven to finish what they came to do.

The proponents treaded through the middle of the court, hearing only the sound of their footsteps as they fell on the creaky wooden floor. They proceeded to the entrance towards the back of the bleachers, near the gym and at the opposite side of the elevators. They walked through it and came out on the other side, near the offices. Nothing abnormal happened. They pushed through and went to the place where the ‘whistling’ sound was heard–the varsity shower room.

The group entered the shower room and found nothing unusual. They stayed there for a while to formulate a plan in order to get more successful results. One of them suggested to divide the group into pairs and have them explore each room in the tenth floor, but the idea got shot down at once as most of the members refused to walk around in such small numbers. In the end, they decided to form two groups of five and they went outside. Once they got another look at the court, they abandoned all that they had planned to do and went inside one of the rooms to discuss what they were going to do next. After a couple of suggestions, the group decided to form a circle in the middle of the court and sit down facing each other. They went out of the room and executed their plan.

Sitting in a circle with only their handheld lights eerily illuminating each of their faces, they waited for something, anything to happen. Minutes passed. The group grew bored and agreed that what they were doing was unproductive so they turned off all the lights that they held. Not long after they did this, one of their members said that he heard something from behind, where the bleachers were. The group dismissed it, saying that it must’ve been the guard who was seated near the direction where he claimed to have heard something. After a little while, another sound was heard. This time, by two more staffers. It was the sound of a click when a door closes. The trio who heard it tried to convince the other members but, again, it was set aside for the same reason (the guard). After a few minutes two members volunteered to explore the rooms on the tenth floor. After exploring all the rooms, they came back to the circle disappointed and with no stories to tell.

The guard went back to his station on the first floor and the group was left alone. They waited. And waited. Suddenly, all the members were on alert. Each one had heard something from the direction of the shower rooms. They hear the door clicking close again and a soft sound of whistling was truly audible. The group stilled themselves, straining their ears for some more evidence to prove that it wasn’t just the work of their imagination. Was there really paranormal activity going on?

Another sound joined the aforementioned ones. The proponents heard the creaking sound of someone sitting on the bleachers. They looked at each other and confirmed that all of them had heard it. No more guard. They were alone. No one else could have possibly made those noises. Frightened, the members hurriedly walked away from the court.

The group found themselves taking the stairs going to their next destination, the eighth floor. They noticed that the door of the Judo classroom was open. A couple of staffers went in to check the room while the others stayed outside. After that, they went straight to the comfort rooms. Alas, they found nothing.

Already finished with their business at the eighth, the group got on the elevator and on a whim, agreed to test it again and pressed the button for the ground floor. Breaths were held for a moment, watching the indicator as they neared the sixth floor. Seventh… Sixth… Fifth. Sighs of relief were released. When they reached the first floor, they pushed the button for the seventh floor, their home base. Fortunately, they were not forced to make a quick stop at the sixth. When they reached their base, it was already 4 am. The group finally retired.

 

One of the most haunted?

A few days after the experience at Razon, one of the proponents consulted a certain La Salle brother who claimed to see spirits from the unknown. And when asked about the ground floor of Razon, he exclaimed that it was one of the most haunted areas in La Salle. He also mentioned that he regularly spots creatures floating around the swimming pool and he also hears voices coming from the inside of the building.

The La Salle brother did not mention what-or who- those creatures were. But one thing was for sure; these souls were not willing to be seen just by anyone at anytime.

It is not conclusive whether the things that the proponents saw and heard were entirely real. Human imagination is very playful as it is, and many may argue that the experiences of the proponents were mere figments of such. But there is only one thing certain- no one is ever alone inside this building.

Now, as a last piece of advice, especially to those who frequent the swimming pool often- don’t look up.

 

With reports from Dan Jerusalem & Marion Mamac

sports

Now and then: The best of the Green Archers

La Salle boasts of a rich history in the field of sports. There is no doubt that the University produces many of the country’s top superstars especially in one of the most popular sports country, basketball. After leaving lasting legacies during their collegiate careers, what better way to relive La Salle’s most glorious moments on the hard court by comparing some of the best DLSU Green Archers over the past 15 years with the current generation of student athletes.

 

Point guards: “The Baby-faced Assassin” and “The Sniper”

Responsible for running the offense for the team, point guards like Thomas Torres and JVee Casio are tasked to distribute the ball to the right players at the right moments. They might be the smallest guys on the court, but their eyes see it all with their extensive court vision.

Casio was not only an effective distributor, but he was also a great contributor in the scoring department. In fact, it was his clutch free throws that helped the Green Archers clinch the 2007 UAAP Championship against the UE Red Warriors. He also hit the go-ahead triple in the waning moments of the 2004 title series against the FEU Tamaraws.

Meanwhile, Torres is more of an energizer, helping the team in terms of hustle and defense. His contributions might not necessarily be reflected on the stat sheet, but the Green Archers rely mainly on him to make the right plays in every game.

The current Alaska Ace in the Philippine Basketball Association might be more of a hero in the clutch, while Torres might be the playmaker who runs the offense, but what both guards have in common is that they always play their hearts out for the Green Archers’ success.

 

Shooting guards: “Vosotres” and “The Rainman”

If there was a word that could describe Almond Vosotros and RenRen Ritualo, it would be “clutch”. Both known and renowned for their sharpshooting skills, these two shooting guards made their mark in the UAAP as deadly offensive threats from the outside arc.

Ritualo’s entry in 1997 became the start of what would become a dynasty filled with championship trophies. With Ritualo, La Salle won a four-peat from 1998 to 2001. The Green Archers, throughout those years, relied not only on his lethal three-point shooting but also on how he led the team in every game.

On the other hand, Vosotros has been a steady contributor as the team’s second leading scorer behind Jeron Teng while sometimes sharing point guard duties as a playmaker.

For shooters like Ritualo and Vosotros there are always games where they would have a rough shooting day, but in the game of basketball, winning is not always about who played better offense. Aside from hitting buzzer beaters throughout their respective careers in the UAAP, some of the games they have won for the Green Archers came from the defensive stops that they made.

 

Small Forward: “The King Archer” and “Captain Hook”

It is not expected for a rookie to lead a team to a championship, but that is exactly what Rookie of the Year Mark “Mac Mac” Cardona did in 2001 when he helped DLSU win the championship. Cardona’s patented hook shot surprised defenders and allowed him to score in large volumes every game, averaging over 16 points as a rookie.

Jeron Teng was surrounded by hype coming out of high school after scoring 104 points in one of his games. Teng lived up to the hype, as he immediately impressed spectators during his rookie season, grabbing the Rookie of the Year award and the Finals MVP plum the year after.

Players like Cardona and Teng have led La Salle to great heights, though in different manners. Teng opts to power his way to the basket while Cardona eludes the defense, but both players certainly have a knack for putting the ball into the basket.

 

Power Forwards: “Hefty Lefty” and “Maier-hopper”

Rico Maierhofer was a significant part of La Salle’s championship in 2007. He was a defensive stopper and his ability to play above the rim made him a regular in the league’s weekly highlight plays. The athletic power forward eventually moved on to the PBA and was selected second overall in 2008.

In his rookie season, Jason Perkins became an important piece for coach Juno Sauler and the Green Archers’ championship run last season. Because of this, he was named a member of the UAAP Mythical Five. Perkins’ colorful personality made him a larger than life basketball player and a renowned figure around campus.

Maierhofer and Perkins both show their emotions, may it be a mere exhibition match, or a do-or-die finals showdown. They provide the emotional toughness and hustle that their team needs especially in pressure-packed situations.

 

Centers: “AVO” and “Big Don”

Don Carlos Allado was the “King Archer” of his era. A 15-year veteran of the PBA, the 6’6 Allado once conquered the collegiate scene. During his stint with DLSU, the big man sparked the first two championships of La Salle’s historical four-peat and was also a regular in the Mythical Five selection.

With his rare combination of height and athleticism, it was only a matter of time before Arnold van Opstal dominated the UAAP. The towering center had a breakout season last year, bagging the Most Improved Player award and was also a vital part of the finals victory versus the UST Growling Tigers.

Their inside presence made opposing players think twice about driving to the basket. Van Opstal and Allado used their size to bully their way in the low post and they were the calm and collected operators whom the coaches trusted in times of desperation.

With a decorated history of basketball legacy in terms of trophies, coaches, and athletes, expect the Green Archers to continue to stand tall as they continue to fight for the Green-and-White. Throughout history, the Green Archers have proven that each failure is short-lived and a championship is always on the horizon.

sports

Pumaren vs. Sauler: Examining the system

Sixteen years ago, in the year 1998, Franz Pumaren was named head coach of the DLSU Green Archers. Until that year, the 90s was a decade replete with disappointing runner-up finishes for behind the powerhouse UST Growling Tigers, who reigned as champions for four consecutive years from 1993 to 1996, and the FEU Tamaraws, who won it all in 1997. The Taft-based squad was then on a mission to end the decade on a positive note and winning their first title since winning back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990.

While it is true that the players are the most responsible when it comes to winning or losing a game for they are the ones who run up and down the hardwood, the significance of the roles played by the coaches who design how they are going to operate cannot be overlooked. Such was the case when Franz Pumaren inherited the reins of the Green Archers.

Despite the presence of former Green Archer Mark Telan, who was a two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player in 1996 and 1997, DLSU was unable to win the championship.

It was not until Pumaren introduced his vaunted full-court trapping defense that La Salle would start dominating the UAAP along with tailor-fitted players to suit the demanding brand of basketball his style calls for.

Fast forward to a decade and a half later, the 2013 DLSU Green Archers surprisingly ended their campaign with confetti raining down on their shoulders, amid the sea of green and white that littered the Mall of Asia Arena after the buzzer of the third game of the UAAP Finals sounded. The Green Archers were once again at the mountaintop of collegiate basketball.

Then-rookie coach Juno Sauler repeated the feat once achieved by fellow former Green Archer mentor, Franz Pumaren.

The similarities and differences of the current roster of the Green Archers and the roster of the past four-peat era begins and ends with the coaching style that each mentor exhibits flawlessly throughout their run with the team.

 

Pesky perimeter defense

There is a popular saying in the world of sports that while offense wins games, defense wins championships. That saying is also true in the basketball court. Mostly, the defensive anchor is the one assigned to man the post, to block shots coming at or around the rim, and to grab the rebounds whenever a shot fails to connect. La Salle had that in Don Carlos Allado during the first two years of its four-peat. They again found the same in the efforts of big man Carlo Sharma in its 2001 championship season. However, Pumaren is known for utilizing his quick guards to shadow the opposing team’s perimeter players. Point guards are the primary point of offense for most teams, limiting their control of the ball and possession greatly helps in stalling their team’s attack. This full court pressure defense demands relentless energy, hustle, and quickness above all else. Pumaren had plenty of those in guards Dino Aldeguer, Alvin Castro, Mon Jose, Mac Cuan, Joseph Yeo, Mike Cortez and Ren-Ren Ritualo, to name a few.

 

Burly bigs beneath the basket

Today’s DLSU line-up features one of the most formidable frontcourts in the UAAP. With physical post players in the form of Arnold van Opstal, Norbert Torres, Jason Perkins and rookies Abu Tratter and Prince Rivero, the Green-and-White boasts what one could argue is the best in the league. In contrast to Pumaren’s emphasis on perimeter defense, Sauler embodies more of the traditional defensive scheme with the use of height to bother the offense of opposing teams. Moreover, Sauler would mostly employ a man-to-man defense to utilize the team’s size advantage, though he shifted to a zone on occassion in UAAP 77.

 

Shooting and scoring

Although employing differing emphasis on what and who to defend, both Pumaren and Sauler were given sweet-shooting snipers to pepper their opponents. Who better to cite as example for Pumaren than Ren-Ren “The Rainman” Ritualo. His range and scoring prowess gave opponents chills as he rained down three pointers on them. Also contributing in the shooting department was teammate Dino Aldeguer, whose famous buzzer-beating three to force overtime against the UST Tigers in 1999 sealed their second straight UAAP championship. Then there were Alvin Castro, Mike Cortez, and BJ Manalo to further bolster the perimeter scoring.

Sauler meanwhile has in his pockets the services of Almond Vosotros, Thomas Torres, Kib Montalbo and Julian Sargent to provide timely buckets when needed. Vosotros, nicknamed “Vosotres” for his ability to knockdown bombs from virtually anywhere on the floor, has proven that he can deliver in the most crucial moments of the game. Even when shooting poorly, you just know that Vosotros could heat up in a minute. Moreover, Sargent had his moments where his streaky shooting shifted the game’s momentum whereas Montalbo’s steady perimeter game provides La Salle a consistent threat, even when the team struggles at times.

 

The “beautiful” game

Good players do not guarantee a championship, and this is why Pumaren will always be remembered in La Salle. As an offense that thrives on ball movement, La Salle created monumental mismatches that left opposing teams astray. Big men like Allado were often on the receiving end of good drop passes inside for easy lay-ups. This is not to discount his ability on the low block, which allowed him to score almost automatically. While Ritualo, by coming off a series of screens and constant movement, easily found himself open to fire away from downtown. Cortez on the other hand, being a trapper instead of a stopper on the La Salle press, was often off to the races taking away easy steals. With the constant motion that Pumaren employs to his squad, players usually score easily and efficiently.

Although five championships is a lot to immediately catch up with, the heritage that was left by Pumaren plus Sauler’s championship win on his first year of coaching, even with this year’s third place finish in mind, is a clear sign for good things to come for La Salle Basketball in the near future. Though their styles may differ, both want the same thing for La Salle: championships.

sports

Life after dark: The ‘suspension’ story of the DLSU Booters

2006 was a dark year for the entire DLSU sports program as a University-wide suspension prevented Lasallian athletes from competing in UAAP Season 69.

In a season that saw different rival universities ascend to the championship throne, La Salle, especially its contender teams such as the DLSU Green Booters and Lady Booters, could only watch from the sidelines as the other teams took trophies and medals back to their alma mater.

 

Top-flight teams

Before the 2006 suspension, the Lady Booters proved to be one of the top teams in the UAAP by bagging the championship from 2002 to 2005. Notable players like Mariel Benitez, Andrea Yang, Stephanie Pheasant, Fiona Mackenzie, and Samantha Bermudez provided firepower for the talented squad, accompanied by the collective effort given out by key players on the field.

Bermudez, a sophomore in 2005, recounts the UAAP championship, “We worked hard to the bone every day to perform like our seniors. And also, it was the year we won back-to-back championships.”

The absence from the 2006 UAAP tournament did not bother the Lady Booters as they also displayed their top form when they manhandled any opponent that stood in their way at the Zobel Cup in 2007. On the other hand, the Green Booters of 2005 were facing a drought that began after winning the 1997 and 1998 seasons. However, there was no doubt that head coach Hans Smit and his boys were capable of rebuilding their team towards success.

“It was a difficult year, Pheasant, who was the team captain in 2007, mentioned. “We had a lot of injuries from different members of the team. It was a difficult campaign – a lot of new ones. We managed to be the 1st runner up [in the UAAP] but nothing beats being a champion.”

 

Coach Hans Smit: Circa 2005

DLSU Football would not be what it is if it were not for the iconic Smit. His tall build, signature bracelets and necklaces, and attitude are what made him stand out among other coaches. To no surprise, Smit has been distinguished for his success on the field.

“Sure, he [Coach Hans] was tough on me and my teammates, but he saw things in us that we didn’t even know were capable of doing,” Bermudez recalls her when asked about her experience under the legendary coach. “He worked me to the bone each and every day [with] no rest. He made sure that I was exemplary on and off the field.”

Today, Coach Smit has a lot under his belt as the coach of DLSU and other clubs. As players come and go, they are left with a reminder of what success could possibly be for an athlete, even after their playing careers.

“He’s one guy that’ll tell you straight up what you’ve done wrong,” Bermudez added. “He saw the potential in me that I wasn’t able to see. I’m years past UAAP but I still carry the values I learned from him. Hard work, respect, faith in your capabilities, passion for what you love, and sacrifice.

 

Working their way back up

UAAP Season 68 saw the Green Booters finishing second only to the ADMU Blue Eagles and had there been no suspension, the team would have been building on their success on the way to a possible title. Despite their championship drought, coupled with the weight of the 2006 suspension, the Green Booters rallied through teams in the United Football League (UFL) in 2007, home to the top teams and most experienced players in the Philippines. Dominant performances against clubs put the Green Booters through to the knockout stages of the tournament, proof that they could hold their own against the best.

“Well, I can’t speak for the team, but for me, yes, I was so pumped up because we knew that we were the underdogs coming into the UAAP season,” former Green Booter Kim Smit said. “We were a totally different team. Old players have left, new faces replacing them. We wanted to see if we could replicate what we did the year before the suspension.”

A year off the pitch, however, didn’t help them as they placed last in UAAP Season 70. From being runner-up, the Green Booters finished with one victory, one draw, and seven defeats in nine games. It was a total turnaround in a span of two years, one that did not sit well with the team.

“It [UAAP Season 70] wasn’t good as we didn’t even get to place,” the younger Smit shared, adding that expectations were high coming into the tournament.

The suspension served as a lesson to DLSU. A year away from the league definitely kept both teams hungry. Despite different results, both teams built on their run in Season 70.

The Green Booters have not finished lower than fourth in the six tournaments following their disappointing 2007 campaign, but they have yet to end their title drought.

The Lady Booters, on the other hand, won the championship in 2009 and have qualified for the finals in four out of six seasons after UAAP Season 70. Yet for those who played in the years prior to and after the suspension, the experience was priceless.

“New coach, new players, new system,” Kim Smit said. “It was fun as coach Hans had a more open style of play.”

“2007 was a year of rookies. For us, they were forced to step up,” Pheasant added. “We reached the finals that year. We weren’t twice to beat but we fought hard enough to earn that second finals game.”

sports

2005 & 2007 DLSU Lady Spikers: In victory and defeat

It is undeniable that the DLSU Volleyball team has produced some of the best volleyball players of the country today. Whether they are currently in the collegiate league or in the professional arena, the likes of DLSU Lady Spikers Mika Reyes and Ara Galang as well as former stars Abigail Maraño and Michele Gumabao always impress the crowd through their immense talents and skills.

But before these ladies ruled the volleyball court, the Green-and-White was donned by Lady Spiker legends like Manilla Santos, Jacqueline Alarca, Desiree Hernandez and Shermaine Peñano. It’s been almost a decade since these former Lady Spikers played for their alma mater, and as the UAAP Season 77 volleyball tournament draws closer, The LaSallian relives how this team developed to become one of the best in the league.

 

2005: Looking back to the first three-peat

It was in UAAP Season 68 when the Lady Spikers were on top of the heap despite the departure of three-time MVP Maureen Penetrante. They were able to enter the Final Four together with other semifinalists AdU, FEU and UST. Determined to get their third straight title, they conquered the AdU Lady Falcons, the only team who defeated them in the first elimination round, to add another championship trophy in their case.

Being one of the best defensive teams in the league, the La Salle squad used their height and blocking skills to their advantage. Game one of the championship series went to the Taft-based squad as they beat Adamson in three straight sets, with the third set limiting the Lady Falcons to just seven points. Game Two sealed La Salle’s third straight championship after overpowering the Lady Falcons in just four sets.

With Hernandez and Santos being hailed as the MVPs, Chie Saet as the Best Setter and Shermaine Peñano as the Best Libero in that season, La Salle definitely showed a powerhouse cast. Santos was a volleyball icon during her UAAP years with the Lady Spikers. In fact, she is the first and only La Salle volleyball player up to this time to have her jersey number retired. Her retired number 14 jersey can be found in the rafters of the ninth floor of the Enrique Razon Building along with the retired jerseys of the other basketball greats of DLSU.

In addition to these veteran players, volleyball fans got to see the performance of then rookies Michelle Datuin and Jacqueline Alarca who eventually continued the legacy of the champion squad.

 

2007: Failed redemption

In 2007, DLSU faced a fresh UAAP season after being suspended from all the sporting events of the league in 2006. It was a comeback year for the University’s famed men’s basketball team, the DLSU Green Archers, as they won the championship behind former La Salle cagers JVee Casio, Rico Maierhofer, TY Tang and Cholo Villanueva. However, it was a totally different story for head coach Ramil De Jesus and his Lady Spikers as they faced a controversy involving star player Alarca.

Entering UAAP season 70, the Taft-based volleybelles were in high spirits to redeem themselves after the 2006 suspension. Bannering the former three-peat champions were veterans Saet, Santos, Alarca, Datuin, Celine Hernandez and Stephanie Mercado.

They opened the season on a high note with two straight wins against the UP Lady Maroons and the UE Lady Warriors. However, they suffered a series of misfortunes later on in the tournament. La Salle lost four straight games against FEU, ADMU, former finals opponents AdU and UST.

The dream of the Lady Spikers to get back in the Finals were suddenly shattered due to an issue about the playing eligibility of veteran Alarca. It was discovered by the UAAP that Alarca continues to play for the team during that season despite being in a Leave of Absence (LOA) in the University. In the league’s rules, a player must be enrolled in the school he or she is representing in order to be eligible to play. With the violation of the UAAP rules, all victories of the Lady Spikers from January 2008 up to the time that the UAAP found out Alarca’s standing were nullified.

Before the end of the season, the Lady Spikers were able to play and win their last game against UE. In the end, they concluded the season at seventh place with a poor 3-11 win-loss record. The squad didn’t go home empty handed though as Celine Hernandez took home the Best Blocker award.

The Lady Spikers may have gone through tough times but this definitely served as a building block for them to achieve the kind of team they are now. This may be the Ara Galang and Mika Reyes era but the legacy of the Lady Spiker greats will continue to live.

sports

Donna Gamilla: The rookie sensation

The toughest year for any collegiate player is often their rookie year. During that particular year, athletes are watched more intently than others for the various questions that circle the minds of both coaches and  spectators.

For most rookies, this adds up to the pressure that they already face as they decipher how to make an impact on their team. Fortunately for Donna Gamilla, she overcame this and made an impact in her rookie year with the DLSU Lady Paddlers. On her first year as a Lady Paddler, she was named as Rookie of the Year and she was one of the key players who led the team to the championship.

 

Starting out

Influenced by her relatives, Gamilla began playing table tennis when she was still in the second grade. “I started when I was in grade 2 I think. And then nagplay ako kasi kasama na sa family namin,” says Gamilla.

As early as her grade school years, she started competing in the Palarong Pambansa, an event held annually wherein players from the different regions of the Philippines compete in different sports. Even at this early age, she had already experienced success in table tennis. “When I was in grade school, I used to compete in the Palarong Pambansa. In grade school, twice kami nagchampion. [those were when I was still in] Grade 5 [and] Grade 6,” shares Gamilla.

 

Enter, Lady Paddler

Playing for the DLSU Lady Paddlers was what Gamilla had dreamed of even when she was still a part of the UE Juniors Table Tennis Team. “Sa UAAP parang nakita ko yung teamwork [ng DLSU] talaga,” she says. Fortunately for her, she was offered by DLSU to don the colors of green and white as a Lady Paddler. When she joined the team, she was immediately welcomed with open arms. “Sobrang welcoming nila… and until now naman. Tapos, wala parang kasi yung team namin family na rin so walang nahihiya,” says Gamilla.

When it comes to the pressure of playing with the others in the team, Gamilla doesn’t let it affect her much. In fact, this pressure motivates her to work even harder so that she will be able to really contribute to the team. “Hindi naman maiiwasan na walang pressure eh pero yung pressure na yun… I see yung pressure na mas nakaka-motivate pa kasi mas gusto ko talaga mag-contribute sa team,”

 

Balancing act

Like most student athletes, Gamilla, who is majoring in BSE Math, had problems in balancing her academic load and training sessions in the beginning. She shares that the training sessions of the DLSU Paddlers are in the evening, which causes her to stay up late for school obligations. “First of all is yung time management kasi since yung training namin gabi, nagpupuyat ako for schoolwork,”. But with the help of her welcoming seniors, she was able to overcome this obstacle. “Parang nahirapan ako mag-adjust nung una pero nagpatulong naman ako sa seniors namin before.”

 

Competing in the UAAP

Being the only freshman in their team, Gamilla felt pressured entering her first game. Her opponent took control of the match, taking the first two sets, but due to an injury, her opponent was forced to withdraw. After that, she proved her worth by delivering excellent performances in her following matches. “[Y]ung mga game ko sobrang ganda kaya parang sobrang tumatak ako nung time na ‘yun,”. In the deciding match for that season’s championship round, she hit a wonderful return ace that made them the champions.

During the time of the interview, the Lady Paddlers were tied with the UP and FEU in the team standings, 6-2. “Yung two losses namin [this season], parang feeling ko nakulangan kami ng puso,” shares Gamilla. “Pero ngayon naman, we’re working on that.” She also says that the rookies are still getting used to the collegiate level. “Pero ngayon alam ko magpa-fight talaga kami. Kaya pa naming humabol,” she states.

And true enough with Gamilla’s mission; the Lady Paddlers eventually overcame all hurdles, as they were successful in regaining the crown for the La Salle squad. With Gamilla ending her rookie year with a championship at their helm, expect the coming seasons to be another legacy in the making for the powerhouse DLSU Lady Paddlers.

The Official Student Publication of De La Salle University.