After more than three years off the pitch, the DLSU Green and Lady Booters will finally be able to suit up once again for the Green and White, as they hope to continue their dominance in the upcoming UAAP Season 85. Coming into the new season with vastly different squads from those that played in Season 81 back in 2019, both teams feature many new talents who will look to carve their own legacy.
Weathering the storm
Challenged by health and safety restrictions over the pandemic, the Green Booters had to utilize new and unorthodox training methods to stay conditioned. Team captain Jovan Marfiga acknowledges the difficulties in adapting to online training, citing the lack of in-game action as a hindrance to building team chemistry. Rookie Goalkeeper Enrico Mangaoang adds, “When we’re all at home doing just online sessions, it’s almost impossible to get a feel of what proper training should be like.” However, the online sessions were not completely in vain, as Marfiga acknowledges how it still kept the players in shape for the season.
The Lady Booters also underwent the similar challenge of working with a relatively new squad while they geared up to claim their fourth straight championship title. Team captain Bea Delos Reyes cites the lack of in-person training to be a big trial, especially for the rookies who are yet to adapt to the life of a student-athlete. “[For] us remaining seniors, we try as much as possible na iparamdam sa [rookies] what it feels like to be in DLSU and play for the women’s team,” Delos Reyes affirms.
In the buildup for the Season 85 title race, Marfiga states that keeping the boys motivated and building team chemistry were the key parts of the preparation to pick up from their Season 81 runner-up finish. When travel restrictions eased, the Green and Lady Booters were able to hold an in-person training camp in Bacolod last January, paying great dividends in helping the team learn how to work together as a squad. The senior adds that the training camp in Bacolod and the anticipated resumption of face-to-face training in Laguna over the past half-year were invaluable for the rookies, as well as for the seniors whose UAAP careers were sidelined by the pandemic.
Ready to test their wares, the Green Booters tested their might in the Ang Liga preseason cup, where their players picked up playing experience against clubs and other collegiate teams. Both Marfiga and Mangaoang were impressed with the team dynamic during the games, citing their resounding “play as a team” mentality. “Even the subs played a big part sa Ang Liga kasi without them we would not [have] been able to perform properly during games kasi they were the ones who we played [against] every time sa training” Marfiga added. DLSU Green Booters B, which consisted largely of first-team players, came out with the championship title after winning 5-4 in penalties against Philippine Air Force FC.
On the other hand, the Women’s team deepened their bench with new recruits, noting high school standouts and national-team players. Delos Reyes proclaims that their primary goal this season is to defend the championship and establish a winning culture in the team. Adding fuel to the Lady Booters’ preseason campaign, the team dominated several friendlies against local clubs during their face-to-face training camp in Bacolod.
For rookie Lady Booter MJ Villacin, entering into a collegiate-level of competition has been an exciting prospect for her and her teammates after many years of waiting. She adds that the transition to face-to-face training has been overwhelming, but through the help of the school, coaches, and her seniors, they were able to get into the flow of being student-athletes and being readier than ever for competition.
Delos Reyes quips that the team’s rookies have surprised her during training, heightening her excitement to see them finally take the pitch in Season 85. She also states that, according to their coaches, many of the players are able to fit into different roles on the pitch and that their team dynamics are in a great spot heading into their season opener.
After being agonizingly close to winning it all in their most recent campaign last Season 81, the men’s team expects nothing less than to take that last step toward glory. Marfiga emphasizes that, besides gunning to be crowned champions, each and every player should strive to contribute in their own way regardless of their position—starting, benched, or even outside the lineup.
Mangaoang adds to that sentiment, “I think the team’s goal is to take everything step by step. We look at each game one by one; we don’t want to immediately look at the long-term goal. I think it’s important that we finish every step that it takes to get there and remain focused.”
The women’s team has also set the same lofty expectations, coupled with the pressure of being the tournament’s reigning champions. Delos Reyes gives value to the legacy of the Lady Booters, sharing, “Ang goal namin sa long term is to continue developing our players and passing on the things we’ve learned from our former seniors sa aming mga rookies ngayon na we always keep the winning mentality.”
(Our long term goal is to continue developing our players and passing on the things we’ve learned from our former seniors to our rookies now that we always keep the winning mentality)
With a daunting task ahead of them, the captains call on the Lasallian community to support both teams as they look to claim their respective UAAP thrones. Marfiga expresses, “Your support would mean a lot for us during our season as it would help us gain momentum in every game.” As a promise to the community, Delos Reyes adds that they will give more than 100-percent effort every time they step on the pitch in the coming season.
The DLSU Men’s Football Team opened their season last February 19 with a 5-1 loss against the UE Red Warriors at the UP Diliman Football Pitch. Meanwhile, the DLSU Lady Booters also lost their opening game, 1-0, to the UST Growling Tigresses.