SportsThe Year Revisited: 13 Things to watch out for in 2013

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Before 2013 began, The LaSallian brought you 13 exciting things to look out for in 2013 from the entire DLSU Sports Program. It was a year of ups and downs, but in the end, it seemed like no other UAAP school had a better year than DLSU in the world of sports. Now, as the year comes to a close, we revisit these anticipated storylines and take a look at how the presumed highlights of 2013 turned out to be.

*Storylines from the beginning of 2013 are in parenthesis next to the updated stories. 

 

1. Green Batters look to bounce back from dismal UAAP 75 showing (Pre-2013: Wounded Green Batters’ comeback)

Coming off a fifth place finish last season, the DLSU Green Batters look to improve and make a comeback this coming season after qualifying into the top four in UAAP 74. They came behind the UP Fighting Maroons and ahead of the last place AdU Soaring Falcons in the standings.

The club finished fifth, with a standing of 3-7 last year, as a split with UP and a sweep of Adamson Falcons comprised the wins DLSU earned last season.

Last year, setbacks plagued the ball club and eventually led to their losing record. Many of the opposing teams were filled with several highly talented recruits and the fact that the team faced a shortage of position players definitely added to their woes last Season 75.

This season, the team will be facing even more challenges. The departure of team captain Jay Laurel, as well as Miles Que and Mikey Reyes will surely have the squad reeling. However, they have regrouped by adding fresh young talent to the roster. These young players will not only cover the loss of the three veterans, but will also be the answer to the problems the Batters had last year.  Whether or not these youngsters will be enough to compensate for the departing players remains to be seen.

 

2. DLSU dominates first set of UAAP 76 events (Pre-2013: New UAAP Season has yet to unfold)

UAAP Season 76 blasted off into full throttle last July, with teams and athletes from different universities suiting up to compete with their counterparts and bitter rivals for the coveted General Championship (GC).

DLSU’s athletes and teams excelled in the first half of the competition as they gathered several medals from different sporting events such as basketball, judo and taekwondo.

Spearheading the first half run were the Green Archers and Lady Archers, who reclaimed their spot as the collegiate hard court kings and queens by winning the championship in separate three-game finals match-ups that would go down as classics.

Also finishing in first place were the Green Paddlers who defied the odds to win the championship, while the Lady Paddlers backed the team up with a silver medal of their own. On the other hand, the Green Jins and Lady Jins also fought their way to victory with a gold and bronze medal respectively.

The Green Judokas and Lady Judokas then pinned their counterparts to claim the bronze and gold medal respectively. Despite coming up short in their event, the Green Tankers and Lady Tankers secured the silver and bronze medals for their respective divisions.

A valiant effort was also given by the Lady Shuttlers who obtained a silver medal and secured a higher spot in the league’s rankings compared to last year’s bronze takeaway.

With the momentum swaying in favor of the Green-and-White, expect to see a whole new set of greatness from the different DLSU athletes who will be competing not just for the second half of UAAP 76, but for UAAP 77 as well which begins in July 2014.

 

3. Formidable Lady Archers aim for a repeat (Pre-2013: Lady Archers look to finish an incomplete run)

The DLSU Lady Archers finally ended an 11-year championship drought by winning this year’s UAAP Women’s Basketball championship. The team’s focus will now shift to next year as they are set to defend their recently captured title. It will be a daunting task to keep the trophy in their hands, however, as most notably, the hungry FEU Lady Tamaraws will seek to avenge their sudden exit from this year’s competition.

Fortunate to have an almost intact lineup for next season, the Lady Archers will only be without veteran guard Camille Ramos who recently graduated.

The defending champions will still be bannered by UAAP Mythical Team member Ara Abaca and Finals MVP Trisha Piatos. The duo will provide veteran leadership to the team as they will both be in their final year of eligibility.

The team will also look to fill the void left by Ramos with their stellar UAAP 76 rookie cast, coincidentally led by another woman named Camille, the sweet shooting Camille Claro. The steady batch of rookies is up for a bigger role with the team as sophomores having playing year under their belts next season.

FEU, who showed their dominance over the past few years with reigning UAAP MVP Camille Sambile, are still the team to beat. The Lady Tamaraws were unable to advance into the Final Four this season as five of their games were forfeited because of a player incompliant to rules set by the UAAP board regarding playing in other leagues.

Coach Tyrone Bautista, however, will work with his team and do their best to win it all as they now have the experience and poise of a championship team.

 

4. The Green Archers’ astonishing finish (Pre-2013: Green Archers’ performance revamped)

The DLSU Green Archers exceeded expectations as their critics were left amazed at the results of this team in UAAP 76. With an improved elimination round record of 10-4, the boys from Taft did not only improve on last year’s finish, but they went all the way and won the championship to silence their critics.

With a new coach in, Juno Sauler taking the helm just a few weeks before the start of the season, critics bombarded the team with assumptions of another early dismissal from the tournament. However, this move would later turn out to be one of the pivotal points of La Salle’s championship run as Sauler reversed the assumptions at the end of the season with a championship. “We just want to be the best that we can be,” says Sauler, who truly made dreams a reality for the Green Archers.

It was evident that Jeron Teng deserved to be named as the Finals Most Valuable Player with his terrific play, but it is only right to mention that the Xavier standout played with other valuable players as well.

UAAP 76 was Arnold van Opstal’s breakout season and comparing his play last season with what he did in his first two years is a testament to the hard work he has put in. As a matter of fact, he has emerged as one of the top young big men in the country today.

Replacing the injured Yutien Andrada at the starting forward spot was Jason Perkins who is regarded as one of the best additions to the team this season. Being part of the UAAP Mythical Team is enough evidence of how important he has been to this team.

Arguably, La Salle will still be a powerhouse for the next season as few changes will be made. Sauler will still be at the helm of the Green Archers while only LA Revilla will be leaving the team. Several talented and athletic recruits are set to join the Green Archers as well, and the future definitely is bright for this team.

 

5. Lady Booters seek to reclaim UAAP championship (Pre-2013: Lady Booters’ possible return to UAAP finals)

After winning the Women’s Football championship in UAAP 72 back in 2010, the DLSU Lady Booters have not gone as far since. They have had several opportunities to come up with their ninth UAAP championship though, as they have come up with second place finishes over the past two years.

Last season, the Lady Booters made it to the finals by the skin of their teeth, beating out the UST Tigresses and the ADMU Lady Eagles by just two points in the elimination round to qualify for the finals as the second seed. The Lady Booters were unable to overcome the FEU Lady Tamaraws in the finals though as they fell in two games and gave FEU its eighth Women’s Football championship in league history, tying DLSU for the most of all time.

Coming into UAAP 76, the Lady Booters are looking to build on the momentum of their third place finish in the 2013 UniGames held in Bacolod, though they have come up short so far. As of presstime, the Lady Booters have dropped two games to FEU and UST after picking up a heart-stopping win against the UP Lady Maroons in the season opener.

All hope is not lost for the Lady Booters though as they still have the second round to turn things around and hopefully rally back into championship contention. It may seem like a daunting task, but if any team can pull it off, it’s the resilient Lady Booters.

 

6. DLSU poised to win another GC (Pre-2013: DLSU still in the running for a GC)

The DLSU community and athletes entered the 76th season of the UAAP with their eyes glued on the university’s most prized possession from the previous season, the UAAP General Championship (GC) trophy. The university, teams, and the athletes are not only focused on dominating their own respective playing fields, but they also aim to defend the crown and earn a back-to-back championship.

With that goal in mind, the first half of UAAP 76 comes to an end with the balance tilting in DLSU’s favor with a cumulative score of 162 points, which includes five gold medals, three silver medals, and three bronze medals to make up the majority of the points.

Now, with the season completing its first half cycle together with the second half gearing up for an all new battleground for dominance, DLSU leads the pack as they have a 16 point difference against their closest UAAP GC contender, the University of Santo Tomas.

Also in pursuit of the GC trophy and not lagging far is the University of the Philippines, who are a few medals away with 133 points. Stalking the Fighting Maroons, however, is Ateneo de Manila University, who are trailing them by just eight points.

Despite the lead and the odds being in DLSU’s favor, things will start anew as the second half of the league kicks in together with the ushering of the new calendar year. Anticipate changes and upsets in the status of the GC race, especially with the emergence of several contenders. Rest assured, however, that the athletes and teams of DLSU will stand and compete with their heart and passion as they aim for back-to-back GCs in UAAP 76.

 

7. Deyto yet to make first appearance for Azkals (Pre-2013: Green Booters’ captain enters the Azkals)

Though he has yet to check into a match, former DLSU Green Booter Patrick Deyto continues to join the Philippine Men’s National Football Team as a reserve. Popularly known as the “Azkals”, the team continues to compete in FIFA International Friendly matches despite their elimination from the early qualification stages for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The team and the rest of the country hope that they will have a better showing in the qualifying rounds for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Deyto has yet to suit up for the Azkals, though it is not because of his lack of talent. He plays behind the Azkals’ first choice keeper, Neil Etheridge who currently plays for Crewe Alexandra F.C. based in England and primary back-up Ed Sacapano, a veteran who plays for Global FC in the local United Football League (UFL). Though Deyto was unable to leave DLSU with a championship in UAAP 75, he was known to be one of the best goalkeepers around the league for his consistent play. As a matter of fact, he was named the Best Goalkeeper of the 2012 Fil-Oil IPPCA Preseason Tournament, a competition prior to UAAP 75 which featured teams from both the UAAP and NCAA.

Now, he continues to hone his skills while waiting for his first stint with the Azkals by playing for Green Archers United F.C., a club in the UFL which was started by alumni of DLSU. Deyto is the starting goalkeeper on this team and if he continues to improve at the same rate, his first stint of action with the Azkals may come sooner rather than later.

 

8. Green Jins stay intact, Lady Jins remain optimistic (Jins’ consistency)

Consistency has been the main them of both the DLSU Green Jins and Lady Jins as they have been legitimate championship contenders in the UAAP for several years now.

“Both teams were hungry for the number one spot this season,” says head coach Roberto Cruz about the outcome of the UAAP 76 tournament.

UAAP 76 was the time when the Green Jins went beyond last year’s finish and bagged their first league championship since 2010. “The Green Jins proved to be stronger than last year when our heavyweight player, Kris Uy, became our tie breaker,” says Cruz.

“Next year, mag pa-practice pa kami ng mas mabuti para mag stay sa amin itong title na ’to. Tsaka we still have the same players for next year,” added Cruz in his interview with spin.ph.

The Lady Jins however, failed to defend their crown and succumbed to a third place finish.”The Lady Jins did well too despite the setback of one player sitting out this season,” praised Cruz.

Though it would be a challenge for the teams to keep their consistency next season as three Lady Jins would be graduating this year, Cruz and the whole team are optimistic about the incoming recruits for the next UAAP season.

 

9. LSDC-Street’s road to the top (LSDC-Street takes a shot at rewriting history)

Perhaps one of the most respected street dance crews in the country to date, the La Salle Dance Company-Street (LSDC-Street) has continued to reap medals in 2013. Though failing to extend their UAAP Street Dance Championship and Skechers Street Dance Battle titles into three-peats this season, the Taft-based dancers have still made the community proud by placing second in both events, in addition to silver medal finishes in the all-girls Crissa Digital Dance Synergy and Smart Jump-in Dance Off.

LSDC-Street has gone far beyond just representing De La Salle University in various local competitions. The team has also brought honor to the Philippines through the World Hip-hop Dance Championship and qualified for the finals once again in 2013, finishing fourth place overall and besting numerous other crews from across the globe.

Hopes are still high for LSDC-Street as we enter into a new year with yet another set of competitions and shows. While the team has made no formal announcement of which competitions they will be participating in, we can expect them to take the stage once again in the UAAP Street Dance Championship and possibly the Hip-hop International Philippine Qualifiers for the World Hip-hop Dance Championships, in addition to their usual competition roster. Another must-see is the team’s famed and highly-acclaimed concert, Danz Dish, having staged sold-out, standing-ovation shows in the past. Now on its ninth year, the concert is usually held in the middle of the first quarter of the year.

 

10. Tennisters continue to aim for dominance (Pre-2013: Supremacy of the Tennisters)

Two years ago, the DLSU Green Tennisters captured the coveted UAAP championship. Last year, it was the DLSU Lady Tennisters who were favored to win the coveted title. This season, in UAAP 76, can the Green Tennisters and Lady Tennisters both win big and bring home both championship trophies to Taft Avenue?

UAAP Tennis has been dominated by the teams from Taft and Espana in recent years. The two fierce rivals have been disputing the crown every year, seemingly alternating their championships. Over the past five seasons, the men’s championship was won by UST thrice, while the other two years were won by the Green Tennisters. The women’s division was the opposite as the Lady Tennisters won thrice while UST has won twice.

Coincidentally, in the past five seasons, no school was able to produce champions in both divisions in the same year. The reigning Women’s Division champions, the Lady Tennisters, look to defend their crown against a resurgent UST squad, while the Green Tennisters look to avenge their dismal third-place finish last season to reclaim the championship.

Ronald Kraut, the long time multi-titled coach of DLSU will rely on the Green Tennisters’ team captain, Ernesto Pantua and the Lady Tennisters’ Marinel Rudas to lead their respective squads to victory.

 

11. Woodpushers look to make some noise in the UAAP (Pre-2013: Lady Woodpushers fight for third straight championship)

The 2013 UniGames results didn’t make waves within the Lasallian community, but for the Green Woodpushers and Lady Woodpushers, winning in Bacolod will be a big help for them in the upcoming UAAP season. The Lady Woodpushers, who are chasing a four-peat this season, wasted no time in besting the competition through the efforts of team captain Jodi Fronda, Judith Pineda and Rowelyn Acedo. The Green Woodpushers, on the other hand, came away with the championship after Christian Nanola defeated Jomer Roto of West Negros University.

Nakita din namin sa Uni Games yung signs na pwede maging [good] results sa upcoming [UAAP] season,” Fronda says, adding that winning boosted their confidence heading into the tournament.

The Green Woodpushers’ and Lady Woodpushers’ success goes back to last season, wherein the former jumped from eighth to third place, while the latter completed their three peat, the first for DLSU in Women’s Chess. With their recent success in Bacolod, Fronda believes that all the work they put in during the offseason is bearing fruit.

Sabi nga nila, sa mga ball games it is repetition,” the Lady Woodpusher notes. “So sa chess, repetition rin naman siya. Like, yung moves, pwede mong irepeat pero merong ibang moves na mas better dun sa ginagawa mo.

Despite entering the competition as the defending champions, Fronda is not overconfident and understands that they’re the target. Yet even with the stiff competition, she is confident that she can leave a legacy of championships in the school.

“I want this team to be a champion, hanggang pumasok ako hanggang umalis ako,” she concludes.

 

12. Green Judokas remain upbeat despite botched Russia trip (Pre-2013: Green Judokas to go global)

Prior to their successful campaign in UAAP 76, the DLSU Green Judokas qualified for the 2013 Summer Universiade that was held Kazan, Russia last July 6 to 17, 2013.

However, with the dream of making it to the international scene at its peak, the Green Judokas headed by coach Sam Bernales, were unable to compete in the tournament considered as the biggest and most prestigious gathering among university athletes all over the globe.

The UAAP did not give the Green Judokas the clearance to compete since it is against the rules of the league.

Despite the incident, the Green Judokas focused instead on this UAAP season which was an eventual success for both the men’s and women’s team.

Recently, selected members of the team were tapped to compete in the Jagsport Championships in Singapore last November 22 to 24, 2013. La Salle took home a total of 21 medals from the different individual and team categories. “It’s more of like an invitational tournament where we made new friends as well as old friends. Para siyang friendly competition pero tournament style,” says Green Judokas team captain Mickey Regala.

While waiting for the new UAAP season to unfold, the team and a few selected players are looking forward to a competition in Korea during the coming year which is a big sporting event much like the Universiade. However, Regala remarks, “We’re gonna clear something with UAAP first then we’ll see what happens. Other than that, mga local tournaments [muna yung sasalihan namin].”

 

13. Lady Spikers go for a historic 4-peat (Pre-2013: Lady Spikers struggle for a three-peat crown)

After bagging three straight championships beginning in UAAP 73, the DLSU Lady Spikers seek to extend their championship reign to claim the legendary title of four-peat champions.

Last season, the Lady Spikers finished the elimination round with a 13-1 win-loss record, with the lone loss coming from the UST Tigresses in their opening game. They swept their archrivals, the ADMU Lady Eagles in their best-of-three UAAP Finals matchup that brought them the honor of three-peat champions.

As the Lady Spikers start their campaign for their fourth straight title, head coach Ramil De Jesus regards that the aim for a four-peat will be difficult for his team. “Medyo mahirap yung campaign para sa championship dahil tatlong veterans yung nawala then five na rookies yung sumama,” he explains. De Jesus focused more on the rookies during training for them to easily adapt to the system and eventually catch up to the level of the senior players.

The well-known mentor doesn’t pressure the team though amidst high anticipations from the fans and Lasallian community for a four-peat crown. Instead, he asks his players to just concentrate on what is at hand and play one game at a time.

When asked on what will be the Lady Spikers’ advantage this season, de Jesus shares, “Malaking advantage siguro yung confidence ng mga bata dahil sila yung defending champions. Lagi ko namang sinasabi sa kanila yun eh. ‘Wag nilang kakalimutan kung ano yung nagawa nila [at] kung sino sila dahil kilala yung pangalan nila.”

The Lady Spikers’ coach sends his thanks to all the supporters of the team and assures that they will do their best during the UAAP volleyball season. He regards, “Yung expectation nila, pipilitin nating maabot.”