After another stellar season that resulted in another General Championship (GC) for DLSU, many Lasallian teams and players are already practicing towards the goal of replicating that feat while also improving on their finishes in their respective tournaments this upcoming season.
So far this preseason, the Green Archers, the Lady Archers, and the Green Batters were among the teams that kick-started their preparations by participating in official tournaments this early into the preseason, with the two former teams having already participated in multiple tournaments a little over a month after the end of Season 78.
Lady Archers start preseason strong
Even during the final stages of Season 78, the Lady Archers were already eager to move on from another heartbreaking season. Joining the PCABL, the La Salle pulled off key wins but could not find a way to take down the NU Bulldogs, falling to them in the finals, 76-69. Snow Peñaranda was named to the Mythical Five with NU’s Afril Bernardino, who was also named league MVP.
After succumbing to the ADMU Lady Eagles in last year’s Final Four, the Lady Archers were out for revenge when they played in the 3rd Ateneo de Davao Women’s Basketball Invitational (AWBI) title from May 30 to June 5 at the Addu Jacinto Gym in Davao. The team, led by head coach Cholo Villanueva, was clicking on all cylinders as they ended the group stage of the tournament undefeated.
Thanks to their excellent performance, they were able to forge a rematch with ADMU in the finals of the tournament. Trailing 14-11 at the end of the first quarter, La Salle went on a tear thanks to their hot three-point shooting. Led by Camille Claro’s seven three-pointers, the Lady Archers defeated their rivals, 68-45, to secure the title. DLSU’s backcourt combination of Claro and Khate Castillo combined for 40 of the team’s points. With Mythical Five member Ara Abaca and captain Alyanna Ong graduating, Claro and Castillo will have to continue to step up to bring the UAAP championship back to Taft Avenue.
Green Batters suffer quick exit
Looking to follow up their UAAP championship with yet another trophy, the DLSU Green Batters entered the PSC Commissioner’s Cup hungry for more victories. After placing second in the PSC Chairman’s Cup last year, the team looked to win the title in this year’s edition of the tournament.
Beginning in early May, the Green Batters were primed to win the month-long set of games. They got off to a good start as they were able to completely dominate the UST Golden Sox in their 16-1 victory on opening day. Seven runs in the third inning off hits from Tuwi Park, Ignacio Escano, and Josh Salinas were enough to let DLSU pull away early. The team was not as fortunate the next day as they fell to rival Ateneo, 8-5. Two days later, however, they were able to bounce back as they defeated Rizal Technological University by three runs, 9-6. A nine-run win against Bulacan State University was enough to book them a ticket to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Entering the quarterfinals, they faced a Unicorns team that was composed of many of DLSU’s graduates. It was there that the Green Batters bowed out of the tournament. While they were not able to get the result they wanted, this could serve as a wake up call that could get the team to work harder in defending the championship this upcoming UAAP season.
As for player leaders, Park and Franco Hashimoto led the team with .500 and .429 averages, respectively.
Green Archers off to a dominant start
The Green Archers’ preparations for Season 79 went up a notch when they joined the FilOil Cup and the Milcu Got Skills Summer Showcase. After winning their tournament opener 85-59 against rival Ateneo, they topped the standings at the end of the elimination round with a 5-1 record. With other teams like FEU and NU also in the tournament, this is a tournament the team cannot take lightly.
In the semifinals, the UE Red Warriors took the Green Archers to the limit, with DLSU needing both games to advance to the finals of the tourney. Playing without their key starters, the Green Archers knew they would be in for a tough battle against the St. Clare College Saints. Facing a large deficit at halftime, La Salle could not overcome the Saints, losing the championship match by 11 points, 103-92.
At this point of the year, no team is fully set yet. All that the players and coaches can do at this point is to focus on their preparations, which will be the key to their success. Expectations are high as DLSU looks to defend its GC this upcoming season. Preseason tournaments and tune-up games are only a small process in what will be a long journey back to the top.