Looking back: Legendary movers of La Salle’s court

Nowadays, students and fans alike will most likely answer Jeron Teng, Thomas Torres, or Arnold van Opstal when asked who their favorite Green Archer is. Considering they are actively playing for the team, it is no surprise that these personalities are the ones who will top the list. However, if one were to ask an alumnus, they would most probably give a name that would be unfamiliar to the majority of Lasallians today.

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Ricardo Brown: The Quick Brown Fox

The year was 1982, afros were still in style and La Salle was still on the hunt for their first championship. Despite ending the basketball tournament empty handed, the team did have Ricardo Brown, a name that would soon be one of the greatest names in the history of Philippine basketball.

At an early age, this soon-to-be famous Filipino-American developed a passion for basketball, and has since trained under some of the best coaches. During his stay in Pepperdine University, his skills caught the attention of Ambassador Danding Cojuanco who recruited him for the Philippine Team. With him on their side, they eventually won the Jones Cup. Soon after, the PBA called in to persuade him to sign up. His brilliant shooting skills did not go unnoticed, as Danny Floro of Crispa and Ignacio Gotao of Great Taste Coffee wanted to recruit him for their team.

During his year with San Miguel Beer however, an accident nearly cost him his basketball career. In a crucial game against one of his former teams, Brown was elbowed in the chest, but he brushed it off and continued playing. Unfortunately, the collision to his chest developed into something move severe. The pain got worse, and it turned out he developed congestive heart failure. This meant he had to stop playing and go back to the States to get treated.

Today, he was welcomed back with open arms by both the fans and his teammates. Having officially retired as a basketball player, he looks forward to establishing a career as a PBA coach.


Franz Pumaren: From player to coach

Being a former player in the UAAP, Franz Pumaren knew what he was doing. Him taking over the basketball coaching staff in 1998 was one of the best things to happen for DLSU. During his 12 years as a coach, he brought five championships to the University, making him the DLSU coach with the most number of titles. He is also the first DLSU coach to win the UAAP tournament on his rookie year.

After leaving the DLSU coaching staff, Pumaren found a position as a coach for the PBA. He led Air21 to their first semifinal appearance in the Commissioner’s Cup as well as a spot in the quarterfinals in the Governor’s Cup. This came as a shock to everyone, because Pumaren was able to bring this team from the bottom to the top in three years’ time.

From being a UAAP player to a PBA player to a UAAP coach to a PBA coach, there is absolutely no questioning his skills as both an athlete and a coach.


Noli Locsin: The Tank

In basketball, it wasn’t required for a player to be lean. Heftiness and a wide body can actually deliver a team to victory. Noli Locsin served his years as a Lasallian player well, being one of the best power forwards La Salle could ever have.

In the PBA, he stood out as one of the best players in Ginebra, where he was fondly called the Tank and the King. Joined by other legendary basketball players such as Marlou Aquino, Vince Hizon, Robert Jaworski, and Bal David, they were an unstoppable force. With a powerhouse team like this, Ginebra had no trouble charging through the opposition and winning a number of championship titles.


Ren-Ren Ritualo: The Rainman

His jersey hanging from the 9th floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Complex along with other legendary Lasallian athletes, Ren-Ren Ritualo made his mark on the hardwood court from the perimeter arc and beyond. His talents made it possible for La Salle to win four championships in a row back in 1998. Being the sharp shooter that he is, he was a major threat from afar to the opposing teams.

After entering the PBA, he was recruited by FedEx and won awards such as the rookie of the year and the sixth man of the year. However, it was not enough to win him as much championships as before when he still played for La Salle. Although after seven long years of waiting for that sweet championship, he finally got it after a long run in the PBA. Recently, after leaving Air21 he is now set to play for Alaska.

With the fact that his jersey number (#4) was the quickest to be retired, the current and future Lasallian generations will continue to gaze at its glory with awe.


Don Allado: King Archer

He may not have his jersey number retired, but no one can deny the skills of former La Salle player, Don Allado. The 90s was not exactly the best decade for the Green Archers, because they would often finish second to UST in the UAAP. However, the bridesmaid finish ended in the year 1998 after the team finally broke free and took the crown back to Taft Avenue.

In his last two years for La Salle, not only did they win back-to-back championships, but also he won the MVP award consecutively. A defining moment in his UAAP career, he may not have started off as a champion but he graduated as one.

Going to the PBA, he was one of the most sought-after rookies after seeing what he can do in the UAAP. To this day, he still plays, looking as if he is not retiring any time soon, which is understandable. His passion and skills cannot go to waste as he is one of the best players in both the UAAP and PBA.

Looking back at all these former La Salle players, it makes you wonder if the future generations will forget the La Salle players we know now. We should remember that even though they don’t don the green-and-white jersey anymore, they were still part of our history, a history that is worth remembering.

By Renee Nicole Tuazon

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