With the UAAP football tournament just around the corner, the DLSU Lady Booters capitalized on the preseason period to bag yet another three-peat. Taking their talents to a field outside the collegiate realm, they yet again topped the latest edition of the Philippine Football Federation Women’s League (PFFWL).
With a lot of external factors coming into play, it proved to be no smoothsailing season for the Taft-based squad, but in the end, they were able to clinch the championship and establish their supremacy in the sport. The Lasallians needed at least a draw heading into their final match of the tournament, but for good measure, rookie defender Jan Reese Jumawan scored the only goal against the UST Golden Tigresses and ultimately won them the title.
The Lady Booters were once again the heavy favorites heading into the PFFWL as they have been the tournament’s only champions since its inauguration in 2017. However, the path was not the easiest as they brought in several players who were donning the Green-and-White for the first time. The squad even suffered their firstever loss in the league against the FEU Lady Tamaraws, 3-2, just last February, snapping their 38-game unbeaten record—a streak that they had been maintaining since the latter end of the 2017 season.
Yet there were also some notable revelations for the Lady Booters, such as the league’s Best Defender Glynnes Dela Cruz and La Salle’s top scorer Angelica Teves, who tallied 13 goals, both of these rookies already showcasing their potential. The team from Taft was tenacious on the defensive side as well, conceding only 17 goals in 18 games played
For team captain Bea Delos Reyes, the games served as the perfect time to learn about the unique skill set that each individual could contribute to the team. “Through this tournament, we were able to familiarize each other’s movements and techniques. Nalaman namin [‘yung mga] strengths na puwede naming gamitin against the opponents. Nalaman din namin kung saan kami may kulang, and [we were] able to address [these during] training,” she explains.
(We discovered the strengths that we could use against opponents. We also uncovered our weaknesses, and as a result, we were able to address these during training.)
Going into her first tournament as La Salle’s team captain, the third-year midfielder Delos Reyes was determined to showcase that she too can lead the Lady Booters to glory yet again. “I was very determined and confident because it is a big honor to lead these women [whom] I know would dedicate their time for this team,” she explains, recognizing the responsibility to rally the members to be “on the same page” throughout the tournament.
Her central role on the pitch and within the team did not go unnoticed. Aside from the collective achievement, Delos Reyes also earned an individual accolade, awarded as the Most Valuable Player after showcasing her midfield artistry while providing stability for the Green-and-White en route to the top of the table. “As [the] captain, it was very fulfilling to be able to defend the championship—I saw how we’ve all worked hard to get this title, and I think we truly deserve this,” she expounds. “Being an MVP is an extra credit because without my teammates’ performances, I [would] not be able to receive this award.”
Striving for success, as always
The Lady Booters have consistently racked up silverware over the past years, evidenced by their three-peat in both the UAAP and PFFWL. One might expect complacency to start becoming an issue for the Taft-based squad, but Delos Reyes assures that the team has continued to portray the same attitude that has been a big part of their success so far. “We should treat all of [our opponents] as tough contenders so that our mindset would not change,” she emphasizes.
“WHAT KEEPS US HUNGRY AND MOTIVATED IS THE THOUGHT OF DEDICATING ALL OUR HARD WORK, SWEAT, AND BLOOD TO ALL THOSE WHO TRULY SUPPORT US.”Team Captain Bea Delos Reyes
In a team filled with rookies, cultivating the right mentality can be particularly relevant. The PFFWL exposed the Lasallians to some tough competition, further bolstering the chemistry of the team and giving the newcomers some much-needed exposure to high-stakes atmospheres.
Further, the sudden postponement of the UAAP season due to the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak has given the Green-and-White more time to prepare for their quest for their fourth straight championship—a feat that no other team has accomplished in UAAP women’s football.
On their drive to succeed, and the excellence with which the Lady Booters have performed in recent history, Delos Reyes expresses, “What keeps us hungry and motivated is the thought of dedicating all our hard work, sweat, and blood to all those who truly support us.”