Lasallian athletes are allowed a maximum of five playing years to contend in the country’s premier collegiate league, the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP). Team sports such as basketball and volleyball are the most followed in the tournament, as evidenced by the continously growing number of enthusiasts across the nation. While it is undeniable that the said sports and their players are the most popular given their huge fan base, other Lasallian athletes also compete in different sports featured in the UAAP, including racquet sports, combat sports, bat-and-ball games, track events, water-based activities, and the strategic board game of chess.
Five years is all the time that these athletes are allowed to participate in their respective UAAP sporting events while also earning a college degree at the same time. Those fortunate enough to reach the pinnacle of success both as an athlete and as a student leave a mark so indelible that they are, in a sense, immortalized by peers and fans alike. On the other hand, athletes whose luck was not as good as the others fade quietly into the background. Guessing whatever happens next to these athletes after giving out their all is as predictable as the occurrence of weather – sometimes you’re right, most times you’re not. However, a trend is noticeable given prior knowledge of where former college athletes currently are now.
Most athletes who engage themselves in a particular sport often opt to pursue their playing career in the professional level. The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and the newly established Philippine SuperLiga (PSL) serve as a channel within which aspiring professional players of basketball and volleyball, respectively, can continue.
A handful of PBA figures with Green roots can be found in the likes of L.A. Revilla, Jayvee Casio and Joseph Yeo while former Lady Spikers such as Abigail Maraño and Melissa Gohing play for the AirAsia Flying Spikers of the PSL along with other notable Lady Spikers.
Athletes who strive to still be involved with the sport they grew so passionate about show how intense the competitive fire burning within their spirit is.
From mentee to mentor
There are others though that have grown to love the sport so much that they feel compelled to share their knowledge and inspiration to other aspiring athletes. Coaches and assistant coaches of the green-and-white teams often have a history as former DLSU athletes themselves, among which include title-winning coaches such as Juno Sauler, Franz Pumaren and Stephen Fernandez.
Coach Juno Sauler gained recognition for successfully steering the Green Archers to another men’s basketball title in just his first year at the helm. Former head coach Franz Pumaren did what Coach Sauler just achieved more than a decade ago while also helping the squad earn five titles under his tutelage. The same can be said of Coach Stephen Fernandez who, after years of mentoring the DLSU JIns to produce a number of championships, has relinquished head coaching duties and has taken a greater responsibility as one of the highest officials in the Philippine Taekwondo Association to help train Taekwondo Jins not only from La Salle but from the whole country.
What is similar among the three of them is that they have all spent a considerable amount of time playing for La Salle, and the guidance they have provided athletes from past to present, or probably even the future, is instrumental for the success of DLSU athletics.
Some though use another conduit wherein their athletic side plays an essential part in how they are recognized by the general public. Monsour del Rosario, a DLSU alumnus with a degree in Communication Arts, is widely known apart from his achievement as an internationally acclaimed practitioner of Taekwondo, for being a silver screen icon wherein he appeared in numerous films showcasing his skills in the combat sport. Another TV personality who possesses the Animo in her is UAAP Season 75 Women’s Volleyball Finals MVP Michele Gumabao who can be seen frequently on television shows and advertisements.
Indeed, players such as these two carry with their name the mark of a Green Archer, and they possess the charm and glam needed to succeed in the entertainment industry.
As they go and reap success along the way, hopefully they continue to inspire the same people who see and idolize them because of what they have witnessed from them as an athlete.
Brains, brawn for an even brighter future
Being a student athlete is in itself a remarkable achievement. Just imagine having to devote a portion of your effort and time to two mutually independent necessities: one for your academics and another for your extra-curricular. These two aspects are of great importance in the life of a student-athlete. Whie most enjoy the luxury afforded by succeeding in one at the expense of the other, a fortunate few does considerably well on both. An even fewer number performs exceptionally well in either field. These rare breed of student athletes deserve recognition in the highest honor.
Athletes like these do not come often. Former UAAP Athlete of the Year and three-time UAAP MVP Johansen Aguilar, who recently graduated with a degree in Applied Economics and Applied Corporate Management, personifies this kind of athlete. Having been decorated with numerous awards as a member of the DLSU Green Tankers while receiving Magna Cum Laude honors for a consistent performance in his academics, Aguliar has been successful in both aspects of a student-athlete’s life.
Whatever happens, these athletes are more than assured of a bright future given their stacked credentials. Student-athletes are allowed five years to play for their respective teams after which they are left with the decision to either pursue their playing career or build an entirely new one on their own. Whatever their choice may be, what matters most is that they choose where they would have the most sense of fulfillment while continuing to live the Animo as they take on life beyond La Salle. As DLSU puts it, The future begins here.