Over the decades, the University of Santo Tomas, amongst other UAAP member schools have dealt DLSU exciting matches not just in basketball, but also in different sports.
The rivalry between La Salle and Ateneo is not the only rivalry DLSU has in the UAAP. One often less told rivalry is that between La Salle and UST.
Lasallians and Thomasians have a deep history of matches and duels in various sports that have been pretty close in the scoreboard.
The Taekwondo teams of both universities for example ended the first round of the UAAP with gold for the Taft-based women’s and silver for the men’s as the España-based Taekwondo teams took home gold for the men’s and silver for the women’s.
Office of Sports Development (OSD) Director Emmanuel Calanong emphasized that other rivalries exist between DLSU and other schools. He mentioned that NU has also been dealing close games.
“If you talk about [the] present day, nagiging rival [UST] because there has been a history [between DLSU and UST],” commented Calanong.
In addition, he also pointed out that rivalries usually occur when two schools run at the same pace and have the same market of alumni.
Calanong further expounded that the alumni of each school would possibly clash when two schools offer similar fields of expertise. Comparing the DLSU-UST to the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry, Calanong shared that La Salle and Ateneo have a closer market, but UST is also offering some courses that are similar to DLSU courses.
Rivalry in the basketball court
Back in the 90s, when DLSU joined the UAAP, the Taft and España-based squads have already clashed in many tournaments.
The two teams then dominated the UAAP basketball competition. The sparkling rivalry between DLSU and UST in the men’s basketball in the UAAP took place in the era of Jun Limpot and Don Allado. The Archers faced the Tigers in four straight championships, but the Taft-based squad finished as bridesmaid in all finals encounters.
The Archers broke the team’s bridesmaid rally against UST in 1997 in a semifinal matchup.
In that same year, DLSU started its championship campaign, bagging a four-peat. The second championship win of the four straight championships the Archers garnered came at the expense of the Tigers.
The rivalry is growing back today as both squads fought hard for a Final Four spot.
The competition has heightened as the two institutions have one of the Teng brothers. The older brother, Jeric Teng, is playing for the UST Tigers and while younger Jeron leads the Archers.
The seasoned Teng brothers, who are both starters in their respective squads, attracted more fans that anticipated the DLSU-UST Final Four bout.
“I still think he is the better player than me. Experience-wise he’s been playing in the UAAP pang fourth year, and he has lot of achievements,” said the younger Teng.
With these two players on opposite sides of the rivalry, the audience watching DLSU-UST matches has increased. In connection to this, Calanong sees the audience as a huge part of the rivalry. He furthered, “the audience determines [a rivalry], it’s your supporters that adds fuel to that rivalry.”
Not just in basketball
Though the rivalry of both schools started in the most talked about sport in the UAAP, the two teams have also been competing in other sports, extending their rivalry outside the hoops.
Sports such as volleyball, judo, and lawn tennis are just some of the other fields where the two teams have repeatedly battled for the gold trophy. Both universities also fare well in other events as proof of the strength of their sports programs.
Last season, DLSU had a good run in men’s judo and women’s lawn tennis; the aforementioned team held the top spot in the first day while the latter had a twice-to-beat advantage in the finals.
Unfortunately, UST came to steal DLSU’s foreseen victories as UST showed up in the second day of the judo tournament and came out strong in the lawn tennis finals. UST received the crown as La Salle had to settle as a bridesmaid.
Before those events, UST was already the perennial rival of DLSU in tennis; both teams have bagged a good number of championships.
Women’s volleyball matches have also been tight between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Tigresses.
“Since I started here [DLSU], palaging top contender ‘yung UST, they are always on the top four. Maganda din kasi ‘yung Volleyball program nila and recruitment,” said Lady Spikers’ Head Coach Ramil De Jesus, who has seen the furious battles between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Tigresses since he started coaching.
De Jesus has piloted the Lady Spikers to back-to-back championships, where the team beat UST in the finals and semifinals in the first and second runs, respectively.
While Coach Ramil sees Ateneo to come out strong because of its experience this year, UST is still not off the list of tough contenders.
He, however, views the rivalry between DLSU and UST as an intimidating factor in his team’s games. He furthered that UST is in the top four.
The Lady Spikers could have been champions for four straight years if the team had not lost to the Tigresses in season 72.
For the past two years, DLSU has kept its bid a few points behind UST in the UAAP General Championship (GC), which the Tigers have held for 14 consecutive years. UST also has the most most GCs at 39.
“I think it’s really starting to be a rivalry in terms of General Championship,” said OSD Calanong.
Though DLSU has yet to win a GC since it joined the UAAP, the University has proved its competence in the league as it inches closer to perennial champions UST. In this sense, the rivalry will get bigger between the two institutions as both need to win over one another for a better stand at the GC.
DLSU was behind UST by 30 points at the end of UAAP’s 73rd season but the Taft-based teams have trimmed the lead to 20 last season. This season, DLSU managed to pull a seven point advantage after the first semester events.
Though the GC race has heated up, the anticipation on both parties pales in comparison to the anticipation from both sides for basketball games.
“Hopefully, this would become a genuine collegiate rivalry in terms of General Championship if we could get our students and our alumni into the General Championship race,” Calanong ended.
With most rivalries being fueled by crucial matchups and high audience participation, DLSU and UST are on track to being intense collegiate rivals.