Twelve months in and the year is almost at its end. Never has the time been more appropriate and more significant to reminisce about what transpired during the year than the calendar’s final month.
For the La Salle community, 2014 saw its athletes, their supporters and doubters alike, face situations that brought about emotions ranging from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows – moments that made the community loud and proud as well as silenced and stunned.
What better way to celebrate the yuletide season than with joy in one’s heart and a smile on one’s face. The following list is a dozen memorable moments in the world of DLSU sports that are sure to brighten up this Christmas.
- Drummers drumming
Remember what happened last July 4 at the ninth floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Complex? No? Allow us to refresh your memory. It was the day that the DLSU community held its 2014 Animo Rally – a parade of various Lasallian athletes introducing incoming rookies and the new captains for the season while showcasing their other talents, which include, among others: singing, dancing, and even cosplaying.
The annual festivity was joined by Green Archer legend Renren Ritualo who gave a motivational message for the athletes taking part in the newest UAAP season. Hyping up the celebration were the Animo Squad drummers whose beats reverberated through the jam-packed area to the delight of those in attendance.
A send-off party that welcomes rookies, promotes camaraderie, and inspires many is one of the memories that are certain to cheer us up whenever, wherever.
- Paddlers paddling
Golden double – that was what the DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers just achieved this season in the UAAP Table Tennis Tournament. And to add to the list, both season 77 Most Valuable Player (MVP) plums were also from La Salle: Jerald Cristobal for the men’s division and Ian Lariba for the women’s division. These victories were DLSU’s only championships for the first half of this UAAP season, which speaks a lot about the significance of this double victory.
In total, La Salle has now won its fourth men’s table tennis crown and its third for the women’s division.
Unfortunately for some, everything has to end one way or another. We have seen how emotional Abigail Maraño was in what turned out to be her final game as a Lady Spiker after five years of take-nothing-back, give-everything-out effort. With the opportunity to leave her collegiate career on a positive note by winning a championship one last time for the Taft-based squad, her team failed to get over the Ateneo Lady Eagles whose game style got the better of the structured technique Coach Ramil de Jesus utilizes.
Let us also not forget graduating Green Archers Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres whose final playing year was stumped by a buzzer-beating corner three by FEU’s Mac Belo that sent the DLSU home for good as the Tamaraws went on to face eventual champions NU Bulldogs.
These three are just some of those athletes waving goodbye to their collegiate career. Their final year may be tainted by the sting of painful exits, but the work they put in will never be clouded by such, for they can proudly call themselves champions, in one way or another.
- Ladies dancing
The Lady Woodpushers should definitely be dancing right now. Earning their fourth straight UAAP championship early this year, these ladies are in for another dominant showing as they approach their UAAP season 77 campaign in a few months. Their success in achieving four consecutive finishes over other competing schools calls for a celebration.
Before contributing to this UAAP season’s women’s table tennis championship, two Lady Paddlers were selected as representatives of the Philippine Table Tennis Women’s Team. The troika, including Muse Balatbat and Lady Paddlers Ian Lariba and Jamaica Sy, finished first place in Division Four of the ZEN-NOH 2014 World Table Tennis Team Championships held in Tokyo, Japan last April 28 to May 5. A force to be reckoned with, the team barged into the finals and squashed the competition. Teams hailing from Montenegro and Laos challenged them later in the competition, but the La Salle-laden team still came out on top.
And perhaps, this explains the inspired performance of the Lady Paddlers in their championship finish during the first half of UAAP Season 77.
Down 0-2 to begin their title-defense, the DLSU Green Archers’ road to another championship was put in jeopardy. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for the rest of their UAAP competitors, they found their groove back towards a seven-game winning streak, drawing eerie similarity to their second-round sweep of the prior season that catapulted them into the championship round.
Wins came in a variety of ways as the Green Archers notched victories in close games against NU and archrival ADMU Blue Eagles as well as ran-out-the-gate outings such as those versus UP and Adamson.
Despite failing to clinch a second straight crown, seven straight victories after two consecutive losses just proved how deadly the Green-and-White cagers are.
Despite the Green Jins suffering a drawback during this UAAP season, the Lady Jins picked up the slack as they improved to a second place finish in the Taekwondo tournament. Two weeks of rigorous battles and months of preparation made their campaign, along with the fruits of their labor, all the more sweet. In addition, the DLSU Poomsae team, led by coach Jean Pierre Sabido, ended DLSU’s two weeks of competition on a high note, as they finished at second, a big improvement from last season’s last place finish.
- Golden bling
Five DLSU teams bagged championships in the recently concluded 2014 UniGames, namely: the Lady Spikers, the Green Tennisters, the Green Shuttlers, the Lady Tennisters, and the Lady Woodpushers. Hosted by the University of San Agustin (USA), the annual sports tournament saw De La Salle University dominate the competition while displaying sportsmanship in the 19th season of UniGames.
With the UAAP on its second half, the performance of these clubs in the UniGames should boost the morale not only of those participating in the second semester sports, but also those rooting for yet another General Championship.
- Shooting birds
No other collegiate rivalry, if not a few, has been fiercer and more exciting than that between La Salle and Ateneo. The competitive fire shown by these two burns hotter in their matchups especially in men’s basketball contests, which is arguably the UAAP’s premier event. Ateneo drew first blood in their first round meeting. Five games and five consecutive wins after, La Salle shot down the Blue Eagles in a game that saw former Finals MVP Jeron Teng erupt for 32 points to lead the surging Green Archers.
It was a close game between the two, and the game wasn’t decided until the last few seconds of regulation. Forward Jason Perkins delivered what seemed a dagger turnaround jumper but was answered by a three-pointer off the backboard courtesy of Ateneo’s athletic swingman Chris Newsome. Luckily for La Salle, they emerged victorious, redeeming themselves from their first round elimination loss.
- Big Ben
Far from the bright lights and spectacle that the Green Archers are enjoying, DLSU’s Team B features a highly touted recruit in Ben Mbala. The six-foot seven Cameroonian baller has been posting impressive numbers during the Father Martin Cup tournaments as well as in the PCCL, where his services contributed to a finals appearance.
At the conclusion of the previous season’s UAAP, the De La Salle University came out with yet another General Championship to add in its ever-growing trophy case. The years prior to finally grabbing the elusive crown saw the Taft-based squad behind perennial contender UST. Season 75 gave La Salle its first UAAP General Championship, and all the athletes of the university was able to clinch the overall crown yet again during last year’s season.
- And a GC, consecutively
Now, with the first semester sports concluded and the second half underway, the fight for a three-peat continues. What else would complete a Lasallian Christmas wish list than a third straight championship when this season reaches its end?