Running after the number ‘three’

 

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Athletes from Taft Avenue have ruled UAAP Season 75 and 76 to break the Tomasians’ streak of General Championships (GC). UST has owned the past 14 GC trophies before DLSU cut short their possible 15th straight crown and 40th overall two seasons ago. La Salle has continued its stellar performances last year to keep the GC crown to its cradle for at least one more year.

 

Ideally, the Green-and-White squads will be eager to go for a third straight GC. Unfortunately, plays of destiny did not pan out well during the length of the first half sports. La Salle only got two championships in this season’s first half compared to five last year. In conclusion, DLSU finished the first half with a five point deficit, 147-152, against perennial GC title holders, UST.

 

Looking back

DLSU leads UST by 12 points at the end of Season 76’s first half, 162-150. This advantage was primarily behind five champion squads through great efforts from the Green Archers, Lady Archers, Green Paddlers, Lady Judokas, and Green Jins. On the other hand, UST got only two championships in the first half via its Women’s and Poomsae Taekwondo. La Salle then went on to seal the crown in the second half with a 15 point margin.

 

Breaking the spell

If we were to trace it back, La Salle only led by three in the second half. If the trend continues, DLSU may not be able to secure a third straight GC as UST’s five point advantage in the first round will only be trimmed to two.

 

However, athletes in Green-and-White have other things in mind. The Tigers may have surged early in the second half after ranking higher than DLSU in both fencing events and in Men’s Athletics competitions. That mounted a 20-point cushion for UST.

 

Signs of hope

Five more sports are running and Taft Avenue based athletes may just pull off a mighty comeback. Currently, La Salle squads places higher in all of the five sports except men’s volleyball and tennis. If current standings will be based where UST and DLSU are tied for a playoff spot in Women’s Tennis, La Salle will be leading by two.

 

Numbers are pointing to Taft. Hearts are with the green-blooded. One thing is for sure, we are running after the number ‘three’.

La Salle Men’s Football team gets first win at Adamson’s expense

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DLSU Men’s Football Team in action versus Adamson. (Marione Paul Infantado/Tiebreaker Times)

After an opening day draw against UP, DLSU men’s football team made sure that they will get a win over Adamson earlier at FEU Diliman. It was 3-2 at fulltime for La Salle.

Quick start

Literally quick, Layumas scored just less than two minutes passed after kick off. Via a Nathan Alquiros corner kick, Layumas found the bottom of the net to give an early 1-0 lead for La Salle.

Costly error

Greg Yang set to pass on towards the left of their goal as suddenly Etis of Adamson rushed to score an equalizer of Yang’s pass at the 25th minute. Tied at one apiece, DLSU pound AdU’s defense as they managed to score two more goals before the first half ends.

Almost a duplication of the first goal, it was Alquiros again from the corner as Layumas squeked in the goal at 33′. Another pass from Alquiros in the 35th minute gave La Salle a 3-1 lead via a Gelo Diamante goal.

Second half drought

Though scoring multiple attemps, La Salle was not able to extend their lead as Adamson managed to trim it to one. A 57th minute goal by Pilarca moved the Falcons closer at 3-2.

The Taft-based squad prevented another equalizer all throughout the match as they escape with a 3-2 victory. Currently, La Salle is at 1-1-0 slate good for second place as of posting time.

Green Shuttlers bow to undefeated Bulldogs to land in second place

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After three heart breaking seasons, the Green Shuttlers finally show up a great feat by returning to the finals only being beaten by the eventual champions, the NU Bulldogs last September 7 at the Rizal Memorial Badminton courts. The men in green and white surrendered their last possible stand for the championship against the thrice-to-beat advantage of the Bulldogs.

Joper Escueta and Peter Magnaye delivered the championship for the Sampaloc-based squad as the two are the only players fielded the whole match. Escueta dropped Shuttlers’ team captain Elijah Boac in the first singles while Magnaye scored a close one over Kenneth Monterubio. The two then teamed up for the first doubles to steal the crown for good after a win over Anton Cayanan and Gerald Sibayan of DLSU.

Opening the match with a huge blow

Elijah Boac was not able to handle eventual season MVP Philip Escueta in the first singles at 11-21 for both losing sets. Escueta cruised early with a 11-3 opening blow before the technical timeout. Boac tried to counter by exchanging points with Escueta but the lead was too big to afford just exchanges. Boac only scored two-straight points once in the entire game as he could not pull off any run in the game.

Monterubio’s comeback

In the second game, come back player Kenneth Monterubio showed flashes of brilliance in the middle of the 15-21 and 17-21 defeat. His mighty performance was not enough to sustain Magnaye’s furious rallies in the end point of the match. Monterubio was still able to tie Magnaye despite being down early in both sets. It was 14 and 16-all in the first and second set, respectively, before Magnaye pulled away and win the sets.

“Mahirap kasi pressured tapos nandun na yung i-enjoy na lang saka ibigay na lang yung best ko,” said Monterubio who almost stole the game from Magnaye only to break down in the end.

Final stand

The duo of Magnaye and Escueta was just too much too handle for Sibayan and Cayanan as the match ended three games to love. The Lasallian duo just managed to score 10 and eight in the first and second set, respectively.

A great season, still

“Start ng season ang pinag-uusapan lang namin is to be back at top four. Hindi naming inexpect na lahat kami magpeperform ng sobrang ganda. No words can express kung gaano kami kasaya ngayon, to be back in the finals is such a great thing that happen to us,” said team captain Boac.

“Proud ako sa kanila kasi after three years saka lang kami nakabalik sa finals. We know NU is a powerhouse team kaya sabi ko sa kanila I hope at least mabigay lang nila yung best nila hanggang sa dulo. Saka sabi ko lang sa kanila kung may gusto silang ma-achieve kailangan pinaghihirapan,” said Coach Owen Lopez who expressed his joy on the performance of his team despite losing to National U.

The Green Shuttlers finished third in Season 74 and 75 before dropping to 5th last season because of Monterubio’s absence that left a singles’ spot void for the team. The team will not have a graduating player this season as the whole core will be up to try and steal the crown next season.

Something bright in defeat

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From day one, the DLSU Lady Spikers seemed to be untouchable and very much poised to take their fourth consecutive crown but not after March 5, 2014 – Game one of their finals duel against familiar championship foe, Ateneo Lady Eagles.

The ladies from Taft eventually bounced back in Game Two but again denied to get the crown in Game Three. When the thrice-to-beat advantage faded and both teams are equal on the court on the fourth and final match, their Katipunan counterparts just did the improbable in straight sets – the first in such a long time.

More than just the tears of team captain Abigail Maraño and all the Lady Spikers, thousands of Lasallians felt the same way. Though consolation prizes or consolation ideas won’t ease the pain, it will be nice to look at some bright spots of the game.

A big lesson learned. 

_JGF8663The weight of the heartache equates the weight of the lesson each and every Lasallian could learn from the defeat. From technicalities,  techniques, and attitude, each Lasallian and each Lady Spiker have surely gotten something because of the upset. In some way, this will make each and everyone a better individual in the near future ahead. More than just the in-game adjustments, mental and emotional toughness is one thing the Lady Spikers could strengthen within themselves.

A bigger picture. 

_JGF8505If you look at it, the run of the Spikers was not bad, they fall short but they did give up the crown via a well-played series and not by just not making it to the finals. Also, their second place finish is good enough to back up DLSU to grab its back-to-back General Championship crown. It may have been a perfect ending to get the women’s volleyball championship to cap the great season by the Green-and-White athletes. But things do not fall perfectly for each and everyone to reflect about the imperfections and after some time, try to do it all over again perfectly.

Outside the old reliable comes the Spikers’ bench mob. 

_JGF8242You might have noticed how Coach Ramil De Jesus tried to tinker his on-court line up to possibly match the great intensity by the Lady Eagles. There are points where it did not succeed but for the most part of the match, it did matter. Alexandra Tan made the most out of the opportunity given to her as well as Carol Cerveza when Coach Ramil suddenly pulled off Mika Reyes on the Court. But the most evident magic mob tapped by Coach Ramil is Dawn Macandili. Just when everybody thought that La Salle might be frozen at 10 points in the third set, Dawn ran after every ball thrown by any Lady Eagle to save the day for her team. They inched closer because of unimaginable digs by Macandili but still the sad part happened.

Great years ahead.

 _JGF8598With the emergence of the bench players during a crucial set, they might simply be the future of the squad. Though Maraño will be a big hole to be filled, the presence of experienced bench players would be a key mix with the current stars of the team. The reign is not yet over, a pause as we may call it.

 

“It’s fantastic” – Coach Stephen Fernandez on his 24-year coaching stint

 

In 1989, a Taekwondo collegiate star takes his move to the coaching ranks for the De La Salle University Green and Lady Jins. After more than two decades of excellence for the Jins, Coach Stephen Fernandez finally called it a day.

“No regrets at all,” quipped the multi-titled head coach of the Jins on his long term head coaching duty in DLSU.

May 31, 2013 marked the official expiration of contract of Coach Pen who stayed in La Salle since his childhood days. Since 1974, Stephen Fernandez possessed the animo in him in his elementary days in La Salle Green Hills (LSGH). After 24 years of head coaching career in DLSU, Coach Pen decided to pass on his coaching duties in DLSU to 10-year assistant Roberto ‘Kitoy’ Cruz.

Huge task ahead

Onto a bigger challenge of his own, Coach Fernandez took over the presidency of the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA). His appointment as the highest official of the association became one of his reasons not to close his coaching career in DLSU at two decades and a half.

“There are things I want to do also, things I want to pursue and I have taken a bigger role now in the association,” said Coach Pen as he elaborates that he is now looking at taekwondo on a bigger picture as the lead man of the national association.

As the president of PTA, Fernandez has to look at more Jins aside from those inside the Taft campus of La Salle. He takes the challenge of finally bringing an Olympic gold for the country which he sees as a tough task to handle.

He gave hints that possible national team members that will be fielded may come from DLSU. Coach Stephen though refused to drop names as he does not want to over hype the things to come for the next generation of Jins for the country.

Heart remains bleeding green

As he still serves as a faculty under the Physical Education Department of the University, Coach Pen remains at the back of the team he served for 24 years. He then said “I’m still here to give my ideas, guidance but handling technical matters it will be Coach Kitoy (Cruz) and Dax (Morfe).”

Though stepping down as head coach of the Green and Lady Jins, the pure blooded Lasallian coach will definitely cradle more talents of Taft Avenue. Coach Stephen Fernandez still serves as head coach of De La Salle Santiago Zobel and De La Salle College of St. Benilde.

“I’ll still be around to guide the guys. My heart is still with La Salle definitely,” Coach Stephen Fernandez sealed the promise.

The post-Fernandez era

For the longest time, Coach Pen watched over the Jins enter and go out of collegiate ranks but all god things ends as new beginnings come close. As he steps down of his coaching rank in DLSU, Coach Stephen does not see any change on his long time mentored team except him treading down as head coach.

“I think it is time that Coach Kitoy Cruz gets to this level of being a head coach and I’ve seen the dedication, commitment, and heart,” sentiments of the long time DLSU head coach.

Since Coach Cruz had been with Coach Fernandez for a long time in the national team and in the coaching ranks of DLSU, Coach Stephen safely said that he believes that the system would remain on the team with his longtime assistant taking over.

“Now it’s his (Coach Cruz) time. It’s time to turn over. I don’t want also to hang on to something that later on I might not be able to handle,” Coach Pen humbly stated.

The Jins will also be left with much talent on their backs with new assistants – Coach Dax Morfe and Poomsae world champion JP Sabilo.

A fantastic ride of his life

As he march down out of the picture, Coach Stephen Fernandez could proudly say how fulfilled he is in his 24-year ride.

“It’s been a good ride. I have won titles as a player, as a coach. I have gained everything already. I am satisfied, there’s nothing more I want to fulfill in coaching. I have won every tournament there is to be won. It’s been a good ride to have won these championships not just in the local scene but also in the international frame,” Fernandez ends as the curtains of his DLSU coaching stint close.