On and off the court: Renren Ritualo’s Hall of Fame induction

Home to many Lasallian sporting greats, the Hall of Fame is awarded to student-athletes who have been outstanding in representing the school in individual sports or team sports categories. 

Being inducted into the De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA) Sports Hall of Fame is a feat only a few athletes have the honor of achieving. And that was bestowed upon Renren Ritualo, who was recognized for his contributions during his time in Taft Avenue. With his jersey already retired by the school and up in the rafters of Razon since 2013, his inclusion to the Hall of Fame has been long overdue. 

Power combination

Being a student-athlete means making the shots while hitting the books. Ritualo’s dedication made sure that he will not forget to give importance to why he was there in the first place. Every time he steps on the court, he always emphasizes that education is still above all else, saying, “If you are a student-athlete, go to class and finish school.” 

Staying true to his mantra, having a successful thesis defense was one of the most memorable events for Ritualo during his time in the Green-and-White. He recounts, “I came from practice, syempre pagod at puyat yun doing the thesis with my group mates—si Kiko pati Vinie…tapos nag present kami, and we got a 4.0 in our thesis defense.” 

(I came from practice, and of course, there was fatigue while doing the thesis with my group mates—Kiko and Vinie then we presented and we got a 4.0 in our thesis defense.)

Ritualo may have left it all on the court, but he wished he had given more in the classroom, and pushed himself to attain a master’s degree in Sports Psychology. “[Our mentor] offered me to go [get] master’s afterwards. Gusto niya ako mag-Master’s in Sports Psychology, I wished I did that.” But how different will the tale of a basketball phenomenon be if he did pursue such? All is not lost for Ritualo as he found himself in the PBA playing for FedEx Express.

([Our mentor] offered me to go do master’s after. They want me to take up a Master’s degree in Sports Psychology, I wished I did that.)

Driving forces

Being an achiever both in sports and academics is a rare feat, and although Ritualo’s incomparable work ethic was a large part of why he had such a successful time in Taft, he had a lot of helping hands along the way. 

A notable individual who consistently pushed him was coach Franz Pumaren, who entrusted Ritualo to take on big responsibilities on the team. “Lahat ng games actually ako yung pinapa tira niya ng crucial [baskets], so dun palang malaki na ang aking mapapa salamat because he trusted me to take those shots or to contribute and be a leader,” Ritualo shares.

(In all the games he always relied on me to take all the crucial [baskets], and with that, I really want to thank him a lot because he trusted me to take those shots or to contribute and be a leader.)

Ritualo’s drive to succeed came from his desire to be the best student he could be, and that was evident throughout his stay in Taft. “I really emphasize sa lahat, na education is very important for me. And malaki ‘yung naitulong sakin nun through my life…Kasi three to four years ka lang sa La Salle, so prioritize it. For any sport, it is not forever. Kasi ang puhunan mo dyan yung katawan mo eh, so di mo alam kung ano mangyayari, kaya mas okay na may backup ka,” Ritualo says. 

(I really emphasize to everyone that education is very important to me and that helped me a lot throughout my life…Because you only have three to four years in La Salle, so prioritize it. For any sport, it is not forever because what you’ll really consistently work on is your body, and you won’t really know what’s going to happen in the future so it’s better to have a backup plan.)

Raising the banner 

Induction to the Hall of Fame marks the prowess, skill, and influence of an athlete, something the four-time UAAP Champion has been waiting for since retirement. Finally a Hall of Famer, Ritualo has now carved his legacy in stone. But like every great athlete, challenges presented themselves to the former champion. He shares, “If you are a student-athlete you actually double the effort, yung mga years mo dun sa school.”

(If you are a student-athlete you actually double the effort, through the years you are in school.)

As he continues his career as assistant coach to the Adamson Falcons, Ritualo expressed that he is grateful for the fulfilling ending of a stellar career, knowing that the Lasallian community will continue to keep his legacy of being an Archer alive.

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By Joaquim Antonio Arquelada

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