The DLSU Lady Archers took an early exit in UAAP Season 80 as they concluded their campaign in seventh place after finishing the previous season as runners-up to the NU Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Archers failed to replicate their success in Season 79 as the Green-and-White ended with a disappointing 3-11 win-loss record.
Victories against the UP Lady Maroons and arch rivals ADMU Lady Eagles came in the first round but the Lady Archers suffered seven consecutive losses following their second win of the season. The Lasallians managed to stop their losing skid in their last game of the season against the winless Lady Maroons but it was not enough to make an appearance in the Final Four.
The Lady Archers opened their campaign with high hopes but succumbed to the FEU Lady Tamaraws, 70-62, in their first game of the season. The Green-and-White committed 27 turnovers and struggled to help Khate Castillo and Joehanna Arciga in the scoring department as they were the only players who scored in double digits, with 21 and 17 points, respectively.
The Lasallians suffered their second loss of the campaign in a rematch of last year’s finals as they were overpowered by the Lady Bulldogs, 77-56. The defending champions used their height advantage as both Rhena Itesi and Jack Animam outrebounded the entire La Salle team, 36-34. The Green-and-White received another loss as they were defeated by the AdU Lady Falcons in their third game of the season.
La Salle finally notched their first win of the campaign against the Lady Maroons, 76-64, as Charmaine Torres and team captain Marga Dagdagan played sublime basketball. The former finished the game with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four steals while the latter recorded a stat line of 16 points, five rebounds, and three steals.
After grabbing their first win of the season, the Lady Archers followed it up with another loss as they endured their fourth defeat against the UST Golden Tigresses, 65-62. Torres and Alyanna Vergara combined for 28 points but it was not enough to complete the comeback as the Golden Tigresses held on to secure the win.
With the game tied at 46-all, Castillo made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to stun the Lady Eagles at the Blue Eagle Gym. The Ateneans ended the third quarter with a 40-33 lead but failed to hold on for the win as the Lady Archers edged out their arch rivals, 49-46.
Castillo followed up her game-winner versus the Lady Eagles with a 21-point performance against the UE Lady Warriors but it was not enough as the Lady Archers lost a heartbreaker, 69-68, to finish the first round with a 2-5 record.
Despite the relentless efforts of the Lasallians in the first round, the curse on the Lady Archers went on throughout the second round. La Salle had a handful of tight games against their opponents but was just not able to close out with a win. La Salle managed to end the season with a win though, as they defeated Lady Maroons.
Castillo, who had been DLSU’s go-to-guy all season long, notched an explosive 29-point performance and grabbed five rebounds. Kat Nunez also chipped in 15 points in the winning effort. The Green-and-White led UP by as much as nine points as they edged the Lady Maroons, 75-72.
Meanwhile, NU, UE, UST, and FEU complete the Final Four, respectively, with the Lady Bulldogs still maintaining their unblemished record. The Lady Bulldogs have booked a ticket straight into the finals wherein they will try to defend the title led by Animam and Itesi.
Camille Claro, a key player who spearheaded the Lady Archers’ offense in Season 79, was not able to suit up this campaign as she sustained an ACL injury even before Season 80 started, but head coach Cholo Villanueva will have the luxury of having his point guard back in Season 81. “She’s going to play her last year next year.”
The return of Claro in the succeeding year will be a good sight for the Lady Archers given her experience and maturity in the tournament. Hopefully, with her presence, the point guard will be able to produce quality offense and set up the likes of Castillo and Vergara. Unfortunately for La Salle, however, team captain Dagdagan will not be with the team next year as she has played out her eligibility.