(Photo by Jempoy Pimentel) Two years removed from the UAAP Final Four, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Archers begin their Season 82 campaign hungry for a spot back into the semifinals.
DLSU Lady Archers in Season 81: 8-6 (5th place)
Holdovers: Bettina Binaohan, Rhea Castillo, Lauryn Del Campo, Rossini Espinas, Jel Jajurie, Marga Jimenez, Vea Malarde, Bernice Paraiso, Angel Quingco, Bennette Revillosa, Lee Sario, Charmaine Torres
Additions: Mica Camba, Beatrix Dalisay, Maureen Okoli, Kent Pastrana
Departures: Joe Arciga, Khate Castillo, Camille Claro, Kat Nunez
Led by then graduating point guard and team captain Camille Claro, the Lady Archers started Season 81 on a high note, winning their first two games against the Adamson Soaring Lady Falcons and the UE Lady Red Warriors. Claro, who missed the entire Season 80 after suffering an ACL injury, made an immediate impact as one of the pillars of the team.
Their back-to-back wins, however, were halted when they absorbed back-to-back losses to eventual finalists, the four-time defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs and the FEU Lady Tamaraws. The tables turned as they connected three consecutive wins against UST, UP, and Ateneo to finish the first round win-loss record of 5-2 placing third behind NU and FEU.
The Cholo Villanueva-mentored squad seemed to have hit a huge wall when they dropped three straight games to start the second round. They lost to UE, before the Lady Bulldogs dealt them an unforgettable 47-point massacre, for their worst outing of the season, 64-111. They sank to a 5-5- win-loss record after their second meeting with FEU.
Determined to improve their record to above 0.500, they bounced back by sweeping their elimination round games against UP, Adamson, and Ateneo, respectively.
With a win-loss record of 8-5, the Lady Archers’ Final Four hopes were still very much in their hands as they remained in third place ahead of their match against UST (7-6), who was also wrestling for a slot in the semis. On the other hand, a win by Adamson solidified their entry and gave them one of the last two seats in the Final Four.
The same result would have easily given La Salle a third place finish in the eliminations and eliminate UST from contention. Instead, the Golden Tigresses dragged the Lady Archers to a rubber match with a win that gave both of them an 8-6 card. UST then went on to win the playoff match to close the Taft-based squad’s Season 81 and send them to their second straight premature exit.
Tomorrow, the DLSU Lady Archers will commence their Season 82 campaign at 10 AM. They will face the UP Fighting Lady Maroons at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
The Green-and-White will be led by team captain Bennette Revillosa and veteran holdovers Marga Jimenez, Bernice Paraiso, and Charmaine Torres. Meanwhile, Mica Camba, Beatrix Dalisay, Maureen Okoli, and Kent Pastrana will be among the new faces to watch out for the Lady Archers.
Learning from what happened to them in Season 81, Revillosa stated, “Each game is important. It can make or break the chances of being in the postseason.”
To prepare for the upcoming season, the Lady Archers participated in various tournaments and tuneup games in the offseason. “We learned a different way of playing basketball from different teams we encountered especially during the Xiamen Tournament,” the team captain shared.
It will be a big adjustment for them since they only have a few senior players. Hence, they tried to develop chemistry with their rookies through various tournaments and tuneup games.
Revillosa vowed to be “a role model that they (rookies) can look up to whenever they feel down and help them to pick themselves up.” She added, “I do my best to play well each game because it can be a tool for me to easily motivate them in times of their struggles.”
The Lady Archers reiterated that their goal will always be none less than the championship. But for Revillosa, before they can reach that, they need to have a concrete goal. She expressed, “We have to get at least 14 wins.” But she also mentioned that they are currently a work in progress, and they will take things one at a time.
Expect the DLSU Lady Archers to go all out each game as they strive #4wardLaSalle in UAAP Season 82.