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.