In preparation for the coming New Year, The LaSallian’s Sports section brings you 13 things to look forward to and to expect from the different La Salle sports teams.
1. Wounded Green Batters’ comeback
After missing a chance to take the trophy home last season, the DLSU Green Batters is looking forward to nothing short of the championship. With a record of 7-5 to conclude season 74 of the UAAP, the Green Batters has prepared to face 2013 with a tenacity to go for the gold.
Despite having a composition of younger players for the upcoming season, the team is hoping for a favorable outcome this 2013. Team Captain Jay Laurel explained that after losing five of the team’s key starters, the new batch of rookies have received training and are fit to fill the gap for the team.
“The team is preparing for the championship by working on all the little details and executing all of the plays in order to outlast the opposing team,” said Team Captain Laurel.
In preparation for a tough UAAP bid, the team has trained the secured a strong lineup. Moreover, the team is motivated to bag the championship as the players want to dedicate this season to their fellow teammate, Paolo Mallari, who passed away early this year in a car accident.
“Our inspiration for this season is Paolo Mallari. He is one of our key players—a pitcher, a shortstop and a leadoff hitter,” expressed Laurel.
Mallari received the Most Stolen Bases Award last season 74, and is widely recognized as the team’s performance catalyst. As such, the team’s loss may affect the team’s performance this season. Expect the Green Batters, however, to face 2013 with a blaze left by Paolo Mallari.
As the second semester of the UAAP starts, the Green-and-White batters are geared up to take on whatever challenge 2013 may bring.
2. New UAAP season is yet to unfold
Next school year, the 76th season of the UAAP will unfold as the league begins a new chapter in its colorful history after celebrating its diamond anniversary. With 75 years in the books, the league embarks on the last 25 years before reaching the lofty 100-year mark.
The UAAP started in 1938 after UP, UST and NU left the NCAA; FEU followed suit later on. The first sports played in the UAAP were basketball, football, baseball, women’s volleyball, swimming and track and field; UP ruled in three events to top the field.
In the entire history of the UAAP, UST has won the most General Championships (GCs) in league history with a tally of 53, followed by FEU with 16 and UE with six. DLSU currently has not won a GC, but stands to make UAAP history in this season as the University leads in this season’s race with UST in hot pursuit, prior to the beginning of the second half sports.
Adamson University will host the 2012-2013 season festivities for the first time since season 68 back in 2005. In that season, La Salle finished third in the GC race, behind champion UST and runner-up UP. The theme that year was “SOAR Higher,” which was conceived as a tribute to the Soaring Falcon, which is Adamson’s school mascot.
In season 68, the Lady Spikers, Lady Booters, Lady Paddlers and Green Paddlers took home the championship to Taft Avenue. Back then, the Green Archers made it to the finals behind the exploits of the explosive Joseph “The Ninja” Yeo. La Salle eventually fell in the finals to an FEU squad led by current PBA superstar Arwind Santos.
Adamson has been a permanent member of the league since 1974, the first year that the school was tapped to host after two years of probation. Back then, La Salle was still a member of the NCAA.
2013 might be DLSU’s year to end its GC title drought since entering the UAAP; it may also be La Salle’s first year to defend a GC title.
3. Lady Archers to finish an incomplete run
The DLSU Lady Archers sufferreda severe blow that knocked the team out of the UAAP season 75 Women’s Basketball finals as the Lady Tamaraws charged right past the Taft-based ballersto bag the championship for FEU.
The roster of the Lady Archers will be in shambles as the number one blocker of season 75, Kady Wilson, departs from the team due to graduation.
Hannah Viterbo, one of the league’s best three-point shooter, will also conclude her UAAP run as she leaves the court with a bachelor degree in Advertising.
Even with the departure of two prized Archers, the Bautista-mentored squad will still be pushing end Taft’s bridesmaid status.
Together with Coach Tyrone’s top recruits from the off season campaign and the addition of seasoned players in the Lady Archers’ roster, including Aracelie Abaca who averaged 17 points per game, the team is ready to make a championship bid once again.
“Expect that the ladies have matured and grown to become a better players. There will be top recruits that will be playing, so you better watch out. Lady Archers will be stronger, better,” shared graduated Captain Hannah Viterbo.
The Taft-based ballers concluded their season 75 run as bridesmaids to the throne with an 11-3 slate.
Powerhouse rivals such as the Ateneo Lady Blue Eagles and the Adamson Lady Falcons, however, are expected to push the limits of the Lady Archers as they meet once more in season 76.
With the Green-and-White’s banner hanging behind, the ladies from Taft will be sure to put on a good show for fans and supporters alike.
“The Lady Archers will definitely be back in the championship next season. I believe that they have that eagerness and hunger to grab season 76’s title,” explained Hannah Viterbo.
4. Green Archers’ performance revamped
The Green Archers reached and almost exceeded the expectations of the Lasallian community in the team’s recent UAAP stint. The Archers turned tables as the Taft-based ballers reversed the team’s Season 74, 5-9, record to a 9-5 slate this season. Once again, the Archers reclaimed a spot in the Final Four.
In the season 75 semifinals, the Archers also showed a good fight before eventually losing to the ADMU Blue Eagles. The DLSU squad went back into action after as the team entered the PCCL for another tour of duty. The Archers, however, suffered early elimination due to crippling injuries of its key players.
“So if we continue to have good support from the community, if we improve the things that we have to improve on, I’m foreseeing a better season next year. You value discipline, you value camaraderie, friendship, and I think that makes a holistic approach to the players,” said Head Coach Gee Abanilla after the Archers’ semifinal loss to Ateneo.
Though the Archers fell short in bringing anything better than a first runner-up finish in the preseason, the promising performance of the Archers was clearly seen in the FilOil cup, the UAAP, and the PCCL.
2012 is just the start of the Taft-based ballers’ comeback to the world of collegiate hoops.
“This is just my first year with the team, and all I can say is that the team gave their heart out for the school, and we will surely come out a better team next season,” added Abanilla who continues to have high hopes for the squad.
Abanilla promised, “Next season, we will be giving the same effort we gave this year. Thanks to our experience this year, we can aim a little higher. Entering the Final Four was accomplished this year, and our goal next time hopefully will be to enter the finals.”
5. Lady Booters possible return to UAAP finals
Since De La Salle University joined the UAAP, the Lady Booters has consisently been a force to reckoned with in women’s football. The team has never ended a season out of the top three, and has entered the finals in 12 of the 15 seasons, winning seven championships in the process.
This year, the XI returned to the last dance after missing out in 2011. Unfortunately, the squad lost against UST. Last season’s best defender and current Team Captain Miel Ampil shared, “After last season’s game, the team is pretty hungry to get that trophy back into La Salle’s hands. We’ll try our very best to bring it back to the school.”
Four months ago, the Lady Booters went back to action in the Women’s Soccer League. Joining the them, Coach Hans Smit’s team paraded a dozen of rookies, five of which are part of the national team.
Despite a turbulent first game, the Lady Booters saw the team’s huge potential that was eventually materialized when the team won the WSL Cup at the expense of bitter football rival UST.
Even with a hiccuped third-place finish in the UniGames, Ampil remains optimistic of her team’s chances of reaching the finals. The 22-year-old skipper explained, “I think this year’s team is starting to have a good defensive and offensive team. I think it’ll be a good season up ahead as long as everyone stays on the same page and copes well with the pressure given to them and to the pressure they give to themselves.”
As DLSU seeks its first General Championship in 16 tries, Ampil is aware that a strong finish will propel DLSU closer to the mission.
6. DLSU still in the running for a GC
DLSU has been in the UAAP for 26 seasons, but has yet to bag its first General Championship (GC). La Salle though has a long history is championships back in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where the University has five overall championship titles.
For the past 10 years, the University has kept its GC score close to perennial champion, UST. La Salle placed second in all the seasons in that 10-year bracket, except the season after the University’s suspension year (AY 2006-2007) was lifted.
In the 75th season of the UAAP, DLSU is starting to see a glimpse of its firstUAAPGC. From a 93 point UST lead in Season 71, La Salle has trimmed the lead down to 20 last Season 74.
After the first half of Season 75, DLSU finally got the lead, a slim eight-point lead, against UST. As the season progresses and draws to a close, UST has started to fight back, and has trimmed DLSU’s lead to four points.
Assuming that the remaining six second half sports maintain their rankings last season, DLSU still has a shot in the GC title. In volleyball, the ladies ended the season last year above UST while the mensuffered against the Tigers in last season’s placing. A similar result could cancel out the possible score of the two competing universities.
UST dominated fencing last year as both Gold-and-Black squads ended the season above the Taft-based squads.To even out UST’s lead in the fencing competition, the Woodpushers must come out strong and should dominate UST in the standings.
Meanwhile, in lawn tennis, football and baseball/softball, the men took the lead against UST last season while the women suffered against the aforementioned university.
If the remaining six squads finish Season 75 with the same rankings, DLSU has a good chance of maintaining the lead and eventually bringing home the University’s first GC. Should DLSU fail to nab its first GC early in 2013, expect the teams to put up a great fight to bag the Season 76 GC.
7. Green Booters’ captain enters the Azkals
Being a member of an elusive team that represents the whole country is never an easy feat to achieve especially for a player who is still playing in the collegiate level. DLSU’s Green Booters Captain Patrick Deyto has recently been called in to train with the country’s official football team—the Philippine Azkals.
Business management student Deyto, one of the seniors of the Taft-based squad, is a member of the squad’s current roster.
He has served, as the Green-and-White squad’s the last line of defense in his stay at DLSU. He was named the best goalkeeper of the entire league back in UAAP 73. From that point on, he has been looked at as an uprising talented keeper.
The 23-year old La Salle standout proudly and happily accepted the invite from the Azkals. “Obviously it is prestigious offer from them [Azkals]. It is every athlete’s dream to be a part of the national team. It is a good feeling that all the hard work and dedication pay off and been recognized by the teams like the Azkals.”
The short stint improved Deyto’s level of play and has challenged him to perform better as an athlete.The invite from the Azkals has also motivated him to perform better for the Green Booters; he also wants to inspire the other members of the squad.
“My plan is to exit as a champion. Only a few have achieved that. As a senior, I will always share my knowledge to my teammates, I will try to be the vocal leader inside the pitch and put things under control,” he added.
Next year, the Lasallian community might just witness a green-blooded athlete represent the country in the football.
8. Green and Lady Jins’ consistency
The Green and Lady Jins have never failed in their contribution to DLSU’s General Championship (GC) bid in the past years.
Since season 72, the Green Jins has consistently been a contenderfor the top two spots, even getting away with a title in season 73. The Lady Jins, meanwhile, also accomplished the same feat; the team won the championship this season.
Both teams are expected to bring their consistency heading into the 76th season of the UAAP.
“For this school year 2012 – 2013 and UAAP Season 75, one thing is for sure, not only the coaching staff but I as well… we are very proud of what the De La Salle Taekwondo Team has achieved,” praised Head Coach Stephen Fernandez.
Coach Fernandez also praised the mental toughness, and tireless work ethic of the team. He also noted that his teams think as one and work together to reach a common goal.
“It is important that we keep being consistent and ang importante siyempre trabaho pa rin, training, commitment and of course, malasakit ng bawat player sa team,” he added.
Aside from his team’s success in the UAAP, the coaching staff puts emphasis on each player’s contribution to the welfare of the team, recognizing that each player has different skills sets to contribute to the team.
“We believe in their capability that the players will achieve. Some may not be as gifted and talented as the others, but they still contribute their own way to the success of the team and that is important, that is what we used to put this team together,” he noted.
Expect the team to ride this line of consistency for seasons to come. Despite encountering touch setbacks, especially injuries and the graduation of key players, expect these two teams to settle the tides with their work ethic and winning approach on the mats.
9. LSDC – Street takes a shot in rewriting history
Victories have already been grasped, and trophies have already been hoisted countless times. The La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street) has consistently reigned supreme in most of the competitions the group has joined.
The crew successfully defended the team’s crown in the recently concluded Skechers Street Dance Battle Year 8, an event highly regardedas the biggest dance competition in the country. Furthermore, the groupalso managed to bag three Maximum Groovity cthampionships, ending the last competition as second runners-up.
Street is set to defend the team’s crown in the upcoming UAAP Streetdance Competition as to bring home a historic three-peat.
The three-peat, however, won’t be a daunting task for the Taft-based crew, as LSDC-Street, University of the Philippines-Streetdance Club and Company of Ateneo Dancers of Ateneo de Manila University, have held the championship, bridesmaid and second runner-up finishes respectively since the start of the UAAP Street Dance Competition in 2010.
LSDC-Street Assistant Company Manager Ella Fortun shared that, as of press time, the group is still in the process of brainstorming, and is still considering the different street genres to include in the crew’s performance.
Street is also preparing for two events, namely Bow’s Up, a Lasallian freestyle battle in January, and the crew’s annual dance concert entitled Danz Dish 8 on March 1-2, 2013. The crew is still uncertain whether they will vie for a comeback in the 12th World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Las Vegas.
The group, however, believes that competing is not about snaring trophies; it is about representing the Lasallian community.
Fortun concluded, “Scoring a three-peat in this competition would be a dream come true and it is definitely a huge load on our backs, but we are just faithful that whatever choreographies and music we learn to put together, we will also be able to dance wholeheartedly to convey a great message to the dance community, as well to all Lasallians.”
10. Supremacy of the Tennisters
This year, the Green and Lady Tennisters won their coveted titles in the different events they joined. Both squads have always ended a competition with a podium finish.
Green Tennisters won the UAAP Season 74 title while the team’s counterpart settled as bridesmaid. Moreover, in the last University Games (UniGames) last November, the Lady’s captured the title while the men’s squad ended as bridesmaid.
Aside from the last season’s holdovers, the Taft-based Tennisters have new faces to banner in the UAAP as both squads try to maintain their stronghold.
The rookie Lady Tennisters, displayed their prowess early in the UniGames. In the squad’s finals encounter against DLS-CSB, two of the rookies saved the day in a do-or-die situation.
In this coming Lawn Tennis season, the Tennisters will surely be at the top once more as they continue to show passion for the sport.
“I still believe in my team’s heart and hunger for more. With our additional rookies, and their hunger to get the title back, I believe we will go for nothing but the crown,” said Tennisters Head Coach Roland Kraut.
The best has yet to come, as both squads chase the championship in the 75th season of the UAAP. Despite bagging championships in 2012, these squads have yet to conquer the championship in the same season.
11. Lady Woodpushers fights for third straight championship
While everyone is waiting for the Lady Spikers’ three-peat, another women’s DLSU team, the Lady Woodpushers, has gone unnoticed, and is on the brink of achieving the same feat.
Fresh from a second place finish in the UniGames, these ladies are driving on a same direction towards a dream of completing a three-peat.Despite a saddened exit from the UniGames after a defeat in the hands of UP because of the ‘win-over-the-other’ rule, the ladies remain undeterred in their goal of securing a three-peat.
Former Lady Woodpusher and present Assistant Coach Susan Neri affirmed, however, “Competing is not about winning but learning. We kept our fortitude.”
The team’s male counterpart is also eyeing the championship.
Green Woodpushers Team Captain Franz Grafil explained, “We train every day to improve. In chess, one move can decide the game, so dapat talaga focused.”
The men’s team ended the last UAAP season at fourth, but the squad managed to match the women’s rank in the UniGames. The men from Taft want to bring back the glory days of chess in DLSU; the FEU Tamaraws has owned the crown for the past six years.
With both squads aiming for gold, the Green Woodpushers may just win the championship, and the Lady Woodpushers may just accomplish a three-peat.
Coach Randy Segarra shared, “Hopefully top three pareho, [for] women’s masustain ang championship and sa guys, from top four to top three.”
12. Green Judokas to go global
After an impressive campaign in the last season 75 Judo championship, the DLSU Green Judokas is set to make a run for a bigger prize as the squad qualified for the 2013 Universiade in Kazan, Russia next year.
The DLSU Judo team acquires rights to host the qualifiers after a hard-fought bid against other UAAP schools that also wanted to host the event.
According to Head Coach Sam Bernales, who was also recently appointed as the Phil. Judo Federation-Manila chapter vice president., the team acquired the rights to host the qualifiers due to its past record of hosting successful Judo tourneys in the country, highlighted by the annual One La Salle Judo Championships, the National Games in Judo the past few years and a successful Hosting of UAAP season 73.
Bernales added, “I think what separated us [DLSU Judo] from the other schools who wanted to bid is the part wherein we annually host judo tournaments, and we get good feedbacks for hosting it very well.”
The Universiade is the most prestigious tournament for any university athlete around the world. It is the Olympics among Universities worldwide. The games are heldevery two years, and was created to promote sports, sportsmanship and friendship among University students throughout the globe.
Every young Filipino Judoka’s dream is to play internationally and the Universiade is a stepping stone towards international experience. For the DLSU Green Judokas, the opportunity to meet and compete against other universities is an experience worth fighting for.
“The Universiade is a good experience, but before we can get there, we must win the qualifiers. As a Green Judoka, I will do all I can to win and qualify to represent both flag and school,” said Senior Judoka Jobi Yan.
With the host school eyeing for a podium finish, only time can tell if a Green Judoka could qualify to represent the country and the University.
13. Lady Spikers struggle for a three-peat crown
After finishing season 73 and 74 of the UAAP as back-to-back champion, the Lady Spikers will look to win the team’s third straight crown, a feat which the Spikers achieved seven years ago.
Despite the departure of last season’s Captain and finals MVP Charlene Cruz, the coaches continue to remain positive on the new lineup.
Cienne Cruz, sister of Charlene, will play this season.
This season’s roster will also depend on the new recruits. Although Baguio-native, Mary Joy Baron, was the only one recruited during the off season, a walk-in from La Salle Antipolo, Princess Tiu luckily found her way to the Taft-based squad’s celebrated roster.
With three players graduating and eventually leaving the team, Coach Ramil remains optimistic that his team is ready for season 75.
Even with Cha Cruz out of the picture, key returnees Abi Marano and Michelle Gumabao are set to spearhead the team’s run for another first place finish. Both graduating this year, last year’s season MVP and Best Blocker of 75, respectively, would like to end their UAAP careers with another golden finish.
Other than the Green Archers, the Lady Spikers is a team that has received strong support from the Green-and-White community.
The much awaited three-peat could just fall into Taft Avenue this coming 2013.