Prior to the start of UAAP Season 78, athletes from De La Salle University’s sports teams vowed to recover from their own setbacks,while also promising to do their part in helping reclaim the UAAP General Championship (GC) La Salle had narrowly lost to the UST Growling Tigers by six points, 285-279, last season.
With a consistent, top-notch performance across the board for all teams in the various disciplines, they followed through on their commitment, as their collective efforts allowed DLSU to clinch the UAAP Season 78 General Championship after beating out UST by a narrow margin, 284 -280. This is DLSU’s third overall title since joining the league in 1986, and it is also their third GC in the last four years.
La Salle had already clinched the UAAP GC on April 28, after the UST Men’s Football Team suffered a 3-0 loss to the UP Fighting Maroons, relegating them to fourth place and ending the Pontifical University’s entire Season 78 campaign. The DLSU Men’s Football Team also lost their match that day to the Ateneo Blue Eagles on penalties, 5-4, but their position as the second seed after the elimination round allowed the school to have an edge over their GC rivals with two teams (the Women’s Football Team and eventual champion Lady Spikers) competing in the finals after that day.
Background and history
The UAAP GC is determined by a set-point system that awards the champion team 15 points, the first-runner up 12 points, and the second-runner up 10 points. The third-runner up earns 8 points, while the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth placers earn 6, 4, 2, and 1 point, respectively. This system is not affected by the number of teams competing in a given sport, as only DLSU, UST, UP, and Ateneo have fielded teams in all sports and in all divisions.
UST has the most titles among the eight UAAP schools, as they currently have 40 GCs, with their last coming in 2015. The 40 titles they have amassed shows their dominance in various sports, a notion that La Salle put to the test once it joined the league. As the years went by, DLSU remained as one of the perennial GC contenders, having had chances of clinching the title prior to their first successful campaign in 2013. Their win that year, and the year right afterwards, showed that despite being the UAAP’s youngest member, their growth in terms of sports has been exponential.
Season 77 recap
In Season 77, UST reclaimed the GC from DLSU after slipping past their rivals by a slim six-point margin, 285-279. The result snapped La Salle’s two-year reign as general champions, while it also handed the Growling Tigers their 40th UAAP GC. Despite the fact that the Season 77 GC race was a close affair, UST always seemed to have the upper hand as they ended the first semester with four championships in Women’s Beach Volleyball, Men’s Taekwondo, and a double championship in Judo.
In the second round, the Growling Tigers managed to maintain a slight lead over the Green Archers, as their only championship in the second round, which turned out to be Women’s Athletics, allowed them to keep their slight distance and eventually capture the Season 77 GC.
To say that last season was a down year for DLSU would be unfair, as 12 La Salle teams finished in the top two spots of their sport, though only three of those teams (Men’s and Women’s Table Tennis, Men’s Chess) won championships. UST had 10 top-two finishes in Season 77, while UP and Ateneo ended last season with nine and eight top-two finishes, respectively. Statistically, those nine DLSU first-runner up finishes may have spelled the difference between a third straight UAAP GC for DLSU and a heartbreaking finish, but this does not discount the efforts of teams like the Lady Woodpushers, the Lady Spikers, and the DLSU Baseball team, all three of which clinched titles the following year.
Highlights of Season 78
La Salle’s sports teams entered Season 78 with high expectations, their sights set on bouncing back from losing the UAAP Season 77 GC, and in their respective tournaments as well. Once the games began, DLSU and UST were once again neck-and-neck, with ADMU and UP also within striking distance. The four schools won 11 out of the 15 championships in the first round, with six of those 11 having been won by DLSU and UST.
The end of the first semester saw UST holding a 155-153 lead over La Salle, with both teams winning three championships each. DLSU clinched their second straight double championship in Table Tennis and won their first Women’s Beach Volleyball title, while the Growling Tigers clinched the Poomsae title aside from defending their championships in Men’s Taekwondo and Women’s Judo.
Early into the second round, the Growling Tigers seemed poised to clinch another UAAP GC as they continued to pad their lead with podium finishes in sports such as Fencing and Athletics, successfully defending their title in Women’s Athletics. Staring at a sizeable deficit, DLSU rallied by putting in stirring performances in the latter second semester sports, with the Lady Spikers, Women’s Football Team, and Men’s Football Team bringing home the UAAP GC with top-three finishes that allowed La Salle to slip past UST, 284-280. Three more championships in Women’s Chess, Baseball, and Women’s Volleyball spelled the difference for the Green Archers, with the Growling Tigers’ fifth, sixth, and seventh-place finishes in Women’s Football, Women’s Volleyball, and Men’s Volleyball, respectively, preventing them from keeping their lead and the title.
In the same way that the UAAP changes its theme with every new season, so too does the annual narrative in each of its member schools transform into something new. This season, La Salle was aiming for redemption and they did redeem themselves by clinching this season’s GC. Now entering Season 79 as the defending overall champions, perhaps a new theme will now take them to new heights. More than just thinking about getting it done, DLSU’s teams will now be motivated to keep getting it done.