Of all the teams representing the Green-and-White, the DLSU Green Booters and Lady Booters are two of a handful of squads who have the potential to make some noise in the second half of UAAP Season 77. After a fourth and fifth place finish, respectively, in last year’s tournament, both squads seek to come back stronger and hopefully reclaim the championship for La Salle.
Last year’s campaign was not as successful as expected after the Green Booters had a shaky start in the eliminations with back-to-back losses. They eventually regrouped and earned three straight victories in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. The rest of the tourney, however, did not end well as they only won two of their seven remaining games, losing the other three matches, and securing two deadlocks. Their 5-5-2 win-loss-draw slate was still enough to land them a spot at the Final Four at fourth place with a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the first seed. Their playoff stint was short-lived though, as they bowed to the eventual champion FEU Tamaraws in one game.
On the other hand, the Lady Booters only recorded one victory last season, which they bagged in their opening game against the UP Lady Maroons. They managed to get a draw with the ADMU Lady Eagles in the second round, but suffered loss after loss to land at the fifth spot with a 1-6-1 record. Similarly, the FEU Lady Tamaraws also took home the football championship in the women’s division last season.
Leaving their disappointing campaigns behind, head coach Hans Smit’s squads vowed to start anew as they began implementing changes in preparation for the upcoming season. Led by team captains Gio Diamante and Matt Nierras for the Green Booters and Meryll Ledesma for the Lady Booters, the DLSU football teams will benefit from their leadership skills and experience gained through the years.
When it comes to their team practices, the coaching staff focused more on the technical aspect and ball-mastery rather than the conditioning of the players and the team.
In terms of their line-up, the Green Booters will debut a new goalkeeper in the name of Paeng de Guzman. Meanwhile, the Lady Booters will have a revamped roster with several rookies making their debut after serving their residency to take the place of the veterans who have departed.
According to Diamante, confidence will be a major factor in keeping the momentum in their games. Losing focus in their matches in the past season was one of the main reasons that causes them to fall short in overcoming their opponents. “Minsan nawawala kami sa laro namin kasi natatakot kami na mas malakas ang kalaban namin,” the veteran athlete shares. “Ngayon, ipu-push namin yung team na lumaban at hindi matakot para manalo.”
Currently, the Green Booters are eyeing their fourth men’s football championship overall—their first since 1998—while the Lady Booters are looking forward to end their four-year title drought and win their ninth overall.
Both squads are coming from a successful stint in the annual UniGames held in Iloilo last October 20 to 28. The Green Booters finished third with a win over the NU Bulldogs in the semifinals while their female counterparts garnered a bridesmaid finish.
Expect the DLSU Football teams to give their all as they try to build on their momentum from the offseason in the coming UAAP wars. The Green Booters will kick off the season against the UP Maroons on the opening day of the football tournament on November 29 while the Lady Booters will start their campaign against the UST Growling Tigresses on November 30 at the Ateneo Football Field.