UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Shuttlers

(Photo by Jed Aquino) The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Shuttlers were brimming with hope as they entered UAAP Season 81. After all, they became successful in breaking a seven-year championship drought and bringing the gold back to Taft Avenue in Season 80. The celebration, however, could not extend for one more year as the squad fell flat in retaining the title and instead settled for a third place finish.

The Lady Shuttlers now look to complete a mission they failed as they enter Season 82. With a lineup composed of young and promising athletes, the Green-and-White have never been hungrier in meeting one goal: to win the championship once more.

OVERCOMING PRESSURE

“Nung Season 80, champion sila. Tapos nung Season 81, nag second runner-up na lang. Ang hirap din kasi nung pressure, galing ka sa champion,” admitted head coach Owen Lopez. He continued, “May time na minsan, may nagcho-choke.”

The soft-spoken mentor bared that motivating the Lady Shuttlers and giving them the extra push in knowing how to handle the pressure on their shoulders are the biggest things that the coaching staff had to handle. “Kailangan namin masabihan para ma-motivate pa sila kung ano ba talaga yung goals ng team,” he shared.

MISSING PIECES

The Taft-based squad lost several veterans last season owing to graduation and maxing out of eligibility. This left the team with a huge void that was filled by new and inexperienced faces.

Iyah Sevilla is aware of this but keeps her squad inspired despite the departure of some former teammates. “It happens every year naman, that’s why it isn’t a big deal anymore,” mentioned Sevilla.

LEADING THE PACK

Sevilla, the only graduating player for the Lady Shuttlers, will be taking on the captain duties for a team composed of rookies and sophomores. “I try to console and talk to them (rookies) now and help them prepare for the upcoming season,” she added.

The team also spent extra time together after training to improve their relationship. “Our team sessions helped us prepare ourselves mentally. It strengthened our bond as a team.” She continued, “We eat together after training, and go out and hang.”

As Sevilla consumes her last playing year, she believes that it is the best time for her to give the best version of herself. The pride of Santa Maria, Bulacan stated, “It is my last playing year, that’s why I intend to give my best shot in every game that I will play.”

She vows to support her teammates until the end of the season. ” We will do our very best and fight for the Green-and-White with pride and camaraderie.”

DEFINING EXPECTATIONS

Meanwhile, as the Lady Shuttlers are a day away from their UAAP Season 82 debut, Lopez believes that their offseason preparations were enough. However, he mentioned that the pairings were the most difficult adjustment. “Yun (pairings) yung pinaka-mahirap eh. Kahit hindi sila mag-usap tapos pag naglaro sila ay may connection.” Nonetheless, he stressed that for the meantime, the players should still enjoy the games.

Keeping in mind that there is always a room for improvement, the long-time head coach manages his expectations. “We will do our best. Ayaw naman namin na mabigyan ng pressure yung mga players, pero siyempre alam naman nila (kung) ano yung main goal ng team.”

The DLSU Lady Shuttlers will start their quest tomorrow, September 18, 1 PM as they go against the UST Golden Tigresses at the Centro Athletico Badminton Court.

UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Green Shuttlers

(Photo by Jed Aquino) Poised to redeem themselves after coming off a lackluster finish in the preceding season, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Shuttlers had a hot opening to start the UAAP Season 81. Their inspired campaign had all the indications of a podium finish, if not a championship. They started with a victory, before winning two of their next three.

However, what looked to be a promising season ended up in a heartbreak. Instead, the Taft-based squad absorbed a premature exit despite a strong showing from then graduating team captain Cayel Pajarillo. They lost to the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles in the first step ladder match to finish the season at fourth.

DLSU Green Shuttlers in Season 81: finished the eliminations 4-2, lost to ADMU to finish 5th

With their campaign underway, the Green Shuttlers come into Season 82 with a renewed sense of focus as well as a new set of personnel.

LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY

Their disappointing finish despite a strong start reflected the Green Shuttlers’ inconsistency last season. None other than head coach Owen Lopez himself noted, “Sometimes ang nangyayari sa amin is malakas sa umpisa, biglang nawawalan ng dulo.” But, Lopez also added that the team worked on it during the offseason.

NEW FACES

Holdovers: Eljee Gavile, Bless Linaban, Andrew Pineda

Additions: Hanz Bernardo, Clark Golez, Jan-e Mangubat, Joshua Morada, Yugin Tan

Departures: Louie Kharial, Paolo Malabanan, Cayel Pajarillo

With the departure of some seniors including Pajarillo, the Green Shuttlers will now rely on some new faces to help lift the team this season. The Taft-based squad had two key additions in the offseason in former Blue Eagles Hanz Bernardo and Jan-e Mangubat. The latter will be taking the mantle as the team captain.

Despite not playing last season after serving a year of residency, Mangubat had been actively observing from the sidelines and taking notes of the team’s struggles. “From what I observed from the previous season, the team lacked consistency, relationship, and acceptance.” Mangubat, who will be bringing in to the team his rich UAAP experience, stressed the importance of the team believing in one another as well as having the confidence to stay consistent. He added, “We should have the composure and confidence for us to be consistent all throughout the season.”

Bernardo and Mangubat were part of the Ateneo team that eliminated the Green Shuttlers in the quarterfinals three years ago. The same Blue Eagles team went on to the Finals, but lost to National University.

EXPECTATIONS AND OUTLOOK

With Season 82 just around the corner, Lopez is hopeful that his squad will be more prepared and can finish with a better standing. He acknowledges the huge pressure on his players, but is confident that they will do their best and move towards the team’s goals. “Ayaw naman namin na mabigyan ng pressure yung mga players, pero siyempre alam naman nila (kung) ano yung main goal ng team,” the amiable tactician said.

The DLSU Green Shuttlers will face the ADU Soaring Falcons tomorrow, September 18, 8 AM the Centro Athletico Badminton Court.

UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Green and Lady Woodpushers

(Photo by Trinity Matias) The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green and Lady Woodpushers found themselves on opposing ends of the standings at the tail of the UAAP Season 81. Looking forward, the former aim to bounce back from a disappointing outing. The latter, two-time defending champions, seek to make it three in a row.

The Green Woodpushers, who finished at the bottom, are keen on making a significant improvement in their upcoming campaign at the UAAP Season 82.

Despite parading a veteran-laden squad, the Green Woodpushers still failed to capitalize, collecting losses one after another. Tristan Ibaoc, then a rookie in that campaign, expressed that “it was a good experience” for him as it nonetheless gave him a perspective of how tight the competition in the UAAP is. He noted the value of not giving up as the squad’s biggest lesson. “We always did our best in all of the games despite always losing,” he said.

This time around, the Taft-based squad will sport a rookie-heavy group. Ibaoc, who was once the only rookie in his team, will enter his second playing year as the lone holdover for the Green Woodpushers. He is now given the task to captain the rookies as they seek a podium finish in Season 82.

The team captain shared the adjustments that they made during the offseason. “We changed our focus on not just playing and playing, but also studying deeper the theories of the game itself.” And he expects these things to be reflected in their games. He added, “All we trained and prepared are the things that should be seen in the competition.”

The Green-and-White will bank on confidence, determination, trust, and hardwork. The sophomore team captain believes that winning the title is not an impossible feat. “I believe the teams can go wherever they want. Championship is not that far away from this team.”

Ibaoc gave an assurance that the Lasallian community can expect from them the best that they have got. He especially continued, “not just from the competition but also from our academic performances.”

Support the DLSU Green and Lady Woodpushers in their UAAP Season 82 campaigns that will start tomorrow, September 14, 1 PM at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. They will face the FEU Tamaraws and ADMU Lady Eagles, respectively.

UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Green Archers

(Photo by Pauline Recto) The roads had never been any smoother for the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers as they entered the post-Mayhem era in the UAAP Season 81.

DLSU Green Archers in Season 81: finished the eliminations 8-6 (tied with FEU at 4th place), lost to FEU in playoff game to finish 5th place

The Green Archers lost former head coach Aldin Ayo and key cogs Ricci Rivero and two-time MVP Ben Mbala. From contending for the Season 80 title, the boys finished Season 81 one basket shy of a third straight Final Four appearance. This forced the Taft-based squad to a major overhaul in the offseason.

We take a look at what else we can expect from the Green Archers, who will be entering Season 82 full of motivation.

LOOKING BACK

Almost a year after Arvin Tolentino knocked down that cold-blooded triple that ousted the Green Archers from the Final Four race, memories of that heartbreak remain vivid not only for the athletes but also to the Lasallian community.

Then third year guard and now co-captain Aljun Melecio noted that even though they were not able to secure the last ticket to the semis, the experience they gained was helpful. “Konti lang yung mga seniors last season, so marami kaming na-gain na experience coming through this season,” he shared.

Injuries also took a toll on the Taft-based squad with last season’s team captain Kib Montalbo fracturing his thumb and Taane Samuel almost missing the entire season after injuring his foot in just his first game. With just 13 players on board, the team struggled to find the right formula.

MAJOR OVERHAUL (PLAYERS)

La Salle will be bannering a lineup looking to turn heads as they play in Season 82. While almost half of the squad will be representing the Green-and-White for the first time, need not be scared as they know for sure how to handle the pressure.

Additions: Jordan Bartlett, Joel Cagulangan, Ralph Cu, Francis Escandor, Tyrus Hill, Donn Lim, Kurt Lojera, Jamie Malonzo, Keyshawn Meeker, James Pado

La Salle made silent waves in the offseason by acquiring the services of Jamie Malonzo, Keyshawn Meeker, and James Pado. With four years of experience of USA collegiate basketball on board, they are expected to showcase maturity and leadership in their one-and-done season for the Green Archers.

Suiting up from high school, on the other hand, is Joel Cagulangan. Arguably the best point guard in their class, Cagulangan committed to the Green Archers even before graduating from La Salle Greenhills.

Eager to rock the stage in the seniors division, the former NCAA Season 94 Juniors MVP expressed that there will be a huge transition from high school to college ball. “Back to zero. Lahat ng na-achieve mo nung high school, hindi mo na mapapakinabangan sa college.” He added, “Kailangan triplehin mo effort mo. Mahirap talaga.”

Completing the Green Archers overhaul are Jordan Bartlett, Tyrus Hill, and Kurt Lojera, who all have finished serving residency and are ready to don the green and white jerseys. Known as a defensive specialist, Bartlett expressed, “Personally, I believe I can lift this team up on the defensive end. I take pride in my ability to pressure the ball, to defend 90 feet.” Moreover, he also boasts his ability to make plays as the playmaker. Nevertheless, he is ready to help in the aspects the team needs him. He assured, “In any way or any role the coach or the team needs me, I am ready to contribute.”

Holdovers: Justine Baltazar, Brandon Bates, Andrei Caracut, Joaqui Manuel, Aljun Melecio, Encho Serrano

Melecio will be joined by graduating guard and team captain Andrei Caracut and Season 81 Mythical Five member Justine Baltazar. The trio, remnants of the Green Archers team who won the Season 79 title in 2016, will be taking on a huge task to lead the troops this time.

Down to his final playing year with the team and the UAAP stage, now is the time for seasoned veteran Caracut to show what he has got. The former San Beda Red Cub standout won the Rookie of the Year award in his first year with La Salle. However, he had failed to find his groove and live up to expectations in Season 81. Given the load on his shoulders, Caracut vowed to be a good leader to his squad. He mentioned, “Kung paano ako gumalaw, kailangan maayos ako at may disiplina. Kailangan gayahin nila ako, kumbaga good example.” Off the court, he shares his championship stint to inspire his younger teammates. “Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na yung championship naging life-changing sa akin, kahit limited time lang akong naglaro sa Finals.”

Meanwhile, Baltazar never really got to show his abilities when he played alongside fellow center Mbala. However, he got his biggest break when he became the team’s main big man, producing consistent figures en route to his Mythical Team recognition.

Melecio will continue to boast his shooting ability as the team’s main gunner. The fourth-year scoring machine looks to provide quick points and clutch baskets down the stretch. The confidence Melecio possesses will definitely be a key factor for the Green Archers’ campaign.

Departures: Mark Dyke, Jollo Go, Kib Montalbo, Taane Samuel, Leonard Santillan

MAJOR OVERHAUL (COACHING STAFF)

Not only are the Green Archers set to parade a new group of players, but also some fresh faces on their bench. Even the coaching staff were not exempted from the team’s major overhaul during the offseason, causing headlines barely months after La Salle’s elimination.

Taking the head coaching duties for the Green Archers in Season 82 is Gian Nazario, a long-time deputy at De La Salle Zobel. He will be partnered by former NBA G-League coach Jermaine Byrd as the team’s active consultant.

Nazario noted that the boys spent time adjusting to his system at first. “(It) took them a while, but we had to show them videos and kinda made comparisons with the players on how we want them to be,” he shared. “It wasn’t really difficult. We just had to keep reminding them kung anong kailangan gawin and what is expected of them.”

Nevertheless, these efforts blossomed into something positive. “I think it showed during the Filoil (Flying V Preseason Premier Cup). We were able to play in the Finals, although we came out short. Afterwards, it as just a matter of everyday, we try to get better. Every practice, we try to get better, and we’re all on the same page. The players are all on the same page in terms of improving their skills.”

On the other hand, thanks to the great acceptance of the team, it became easy for Byrd to adjust with the boys. “The new players, along with the new high school players, they allowed me to coach them. As a group, we are doing better every day, every practice, and every warm up game.”

Byrd takes pride of the Green Archers’ depth. “We have 16 guys who can play. This team, the way I constructed it, the way I built it, the way I wanted it to be built, it is not about one player. It is about the team. If one guy is not getting it done that night, we have another guy at that position whose night it might be.” He continued, “I think we are three or four deep at every position, and all guys know if they do not have it going that night, the other guy will get the opportunity to play.”

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT

With pretty much new faces making up the entire squad, it will be difficult to predict what may happen. However, Byrd promised a Green Archers team not to sleep on. “They can expect a team that has a lot of enjoyment, a fun-paced team, a team that’s gonna get up and down and score a lot of points, but a team that is also going to play together and also going to play defense.”

Compared with the previous season, Melecio noted that the Green Archers are now more complete in terms of chemistry, players, and coaching staff, making them more versatile to play what style would be effective. He claimed, “We can play fast. We can play slow. Also, yung defense namin, complete na yung materials for our bigs.”

Caracut vowed as he starts his senior year, “We’ll give our best. We’ll play with pride and attitude ng pagiging Lasallian. Nagta-trabaho kami sa practice for the institution, hindi lang para sa sarili namin. Mag-eenjoy sila.”

The DLSU Green Archers look to storm the UAAP community as they open their Season 82 campaign against their archrivals and two-time defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles tomorrow, September 8, 4 PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Archers

(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.

DYNASTY! Lady Booters vanquish FEU to claim third straight title

Photo by: Dara Evangelista

Poised to win it all in the championship match, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Booters entered their final game of the season brimming with confidence as they faced the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws.

Indeed after 90 minutes of ball game, the Lady Booters delivered, pulling a 2-0 win over their rivals to be hailed as the champions of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Football tournament yesterday, May 16 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

With the victory, La Salle cemented their dynasty off a third consecutive title that also allowed them to become the winningest team in the league’s history, bannering 11 championships. The Lady Booters broke what was erstwhile a shared record between them and, coincidentally, the Lady Tamaraws, whose number remained at 10.

La Salle and FEU kept the game tight after figuring out in a nil to nil scoring at the first half.

In the second half, Sara Castañeda capitalized on a free kick at the 53rd minute of the match. The 22-year-old midfielder found Rocelle Mendaño, who finished with a header to put La Salle up, 1-0. At the 79th mark, Shai Del Campo sent the ball at the back of the net for a 2-0 lead, sinking the Lady Tamaraws effectively.

During the awarding ceremony, the Taft-based squad bagged various individual awards led by Castañeda’s MVP and Best Midfielder prizes. After leading the Green-and-White in scoring, Del Campo claimed the Best Striker and Rookie of the Year awards. Tashka Lacson defended her Best Goalkeeper title.

Late defensive lapse against Ateneo costs Green Booters elusive title

Photo by: Drea Mateo

The drought continues for the Green-and-White after the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters fell short in their championship match against their archrivals Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles yesterday, May 16 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Ninety minutes was almost enough to determine the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football champions as the Green Booters looked to hang on to their slim 1-0 edge against the Blue Eagles. However, just right after four minutes of time was added in the regulation, a Jarvey Gayoso stunner off a costly defensive error tied the game at 1-all. That paved way to an extra time, where Ateneo overtook La Salle to steal the title.

The entire La Salle squad made a good effort in disrupting Ateneo’s offense, not allowing the ball to go to back of the net even with a series of corners and free kicks towards the break. The first half ended with neither team producing a goal.

Riding on the momentum they built from the first half, the Taft-based squad spit fire after another, but AJ Arcilla proved why he was hailed Best Goalkeeper this season.

At the 78th minute, the Green Booters finally struck first with a hard-earned strike from Mohammad Almohjili. Coming off the counterattack, the rookie striker ran past two defenders to tally another goal to his name.

Ateneo refused to wave the white flag and continued to step on the gas pedal, creating chances after chances. While La Salle thought the championship was secured under their belt, Jarvey Gayoso deemed otherwise. The eventual Season MVP and Finals MVP just needed one out of the four minutes added time to bring his team back in contention with a conversion from a through ball that caught the defenders off-guard. He almost made it double, but Mig Brosoto refused to concede the match, coming up with a crucial back-to-back save.

It was at the 99th minute that allowed the Katipunan-based squad to put one hand on the trophy following a Julian Roxas header. Getting the rebound off a saved attempt, Luca Alleje showed composure and kicked up a spectacular cross that made it easy for Roxas to put the go-ahead goal for Ateneo.

While the Green-and-White showed heart and fought hard until the last whistle, they still failed to equalize the game, handing the gold to the opposing squad.

The loss extended the Green Booters’ waiting game as they continue to try to snap their title drought. However, on the bright side, three Lasallians garnered individual awards with Shanden Vergara getting the Rookie of the Year award, graduating senior Yoshi Koizumi bagging the Best Defender prize, and team captain Jed Diamante claiming the back-to-back Best Midfielder award.

The Green Booters will miss the services of Koizumi, Alfonso Montelibano, and Gyan de Vera. Nevertheless, with 13 rookies in their current lineup, the future looks bright for the Green-and-White after the gained experience from this season.

UAAP Season 81 Finals Team Preview: DLSU Lady Booters

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

With the UAAP Season 81 down to its last two winner-take-all games, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Booters are looking to close out their campaign with a victory to seal their third consecutive title and stamp their dynasty in the Women’s Football tournament.

Highly favored to repeat this season, the two-time defending champions, led by team captain Kyra Dimaandal, promising rookie Shai Del Campo, and solid goalkeeper Tashka Lacson, opened the first round with a bang and 3-1-0 win-draw-loss record. Amidst their struggles in the second round, where they figured in three draws out of four matches, the Lady Booters managed to stay on top of the league.

Their 4-4-0 slate was enough to send them straight to the Finals, their fourth consecutive appearance. However, after facing UST in the last two editions, they are set to renew their rivalry with the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws this time around.

The DLSU-FEU rivalry is nothing new in the Women’s Football tournament, as the two have previously met in the Finals from Season 58 to Season 66. The Lady Booters have the edge though, taking five of those nine titles from the Lady Tamaraws. Both squads boast 10 championships each under their belts. Hence, it makes this season’s championship match a historic tie-breaker for the two winningest teams in the league’s history.

Although she has been in the Finals in each but one of her playing years, Dimaandal shared that the feeling is the same for the Lady Booters. “Same as last year, (we feel) nervous. We just want to defend the title.”

La Salle defeated the Morayta-based squad in their first encounter, before the latter figured in a draw with the Taft-based squad in their final assignments of the round-robin eliminations. Regardless of the elimination round results, the Dimaandal remains confident of her team’s chances.

“I know that we are capable of keeping the title in Taft. I trust that the girls will not settle for less than a championship,” she stated. The team captain continued, “The team is in good shape. We also have coaches that guide us in the game.”

Dimaandal knows that the title match will not be a walk in the park for them, just like any of their previous championships, “We need to improve on recovery from lapses and mistakes.” She ended, “We have to give not less than 101% and just want to win it more.”

Catch the DLSU Lady Booters in their final game of the season tomorrow, May 16, 2 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

UAAP Season 81 Finals Team Preview: DLSU Green Booters

Photo by: Trinity Matias

In their last outing, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters stunned the defending champions UP Fighting Maroons to make their comeback to the biggest stage of the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Football tournament.

The Taft-based squad returned the favor to Diliman after the Fighting Maroons booted La Salle out in the semifinals last season. The victory gave the Green Booters not only their first finals appearance since Season 77 but also another chance to end their 20-year championship drought.

Ever since winning consecutively in Seasons 59 and 60, the Green Booters only had a couple of golden opportunities of adding one more to their three titles. However, they missed both as they lost to Ateneo in Season 68 and to FEU in Season 77. Could third time be a charm for La Salle in Season 81?

The Green-and-White are set to face their archrivals, the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, who are as well eager to bring the trophy back to Katipunan after failing to defend their title. The Blue-and-White were dethroned by UST last season.

A revamped La Salle team looked to surprise their opponents early into the season. Led by team captain Jed Diamante and a slew of rookies, the Green Booters finished the first round at second place with a record of 4-0-3. They then carried on with a final elimination card of 8-1-5.

Ironically, they suffered their only second round losses at the hands of their eventual playoff opponents, UP and ADMU.

In his team’s return to the championship round, Diamante still feels surreal. “It still feels surreal, but the team made it happen,” he said. The former Rookie of the Year will be playing in the Finals for the first time in his four-year career with the Green Booters. He continued, “We are excited to give our all for the community in this momentous match.”

The Green Booters’ captain admired the team’s desire to win. “Everyone wants it. Everyone is willing to sacrifice everything.” This statement reflected the Green Booters latest performance as they enter the Finals on a five-game run bridging Round 2 and the semis.

He specifically pointed out that in their last match against UP, “No one stopped until the final whistle.”

The top-seed Blue Eagles might be a tall order for Diamante and his teammates. Led by the league’s top scorer Jarvey Gayoso, Ateneo also banner their Finals experience, having been in the grand stage thrice over the last six seasons, and winning twice.

However, Diamante described the Finals as “a game of mentality.” The Green Booters are always capable of upsetting any opponent at any given time. He believes that they simply have to have the bigger heart on the pitch in order to win it all.

Support the DLSU Green Booters in their final game of the season tomorrow, May 16, 4:30 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Lady Tennisters end breakthrough season at second with loss to NU

Photo by: Genrev Villamin

Playing with their backs against the wall, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Tennisters absorbed another loss from the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 1-3, in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Lawn Tennis Finals to finish their campaign with a silver on Tuesday, April 9, at the CSA Bulacan Tennis Courts.

Preceded by series-opening loss that lasted for almost 12 hours last Sunday, the must-win game for the Lady Tennisters went only for a few hours this time around. Unlike Game 1, both teams needed only four matches to determine a winner, however.

The first singles and the first doubles matches commenced at the same time, with the former finishing earlier than the latter.

Angel Santiago dominated Lady Bulldog Zam Dumalo in the first singles match, 6-3, 6-1, as La Salle made a headway, 1-0.

In the first doubles match, the usual tandem of captain-rookie tandem of Jed Aquino and Arianne Nillasca faced NU’s Allysa Bornia and Alliah Ragunton. However, the Taft-based duo’s experience was overshadowed by the Jhocson-based pair’s thirst to win as they made quick work of the former, 3-6, 4-6.

The spotlight then shifted to Aubrey Calma as she battled eventual Finals MVP Clarice Patrimonio. Calma yielded the pivotal second singles match to the daughter of former NCAA star Alvin Patrimonio, 1-6, 3-6, giving NU a crucial 2-1 favor.

Kiezl Diaz and Jenni Dizon played in a must-win second singles match against Lady Bulldogs Jzash Canja and Annie Tumanda. However, the Lady Tennisters continued to succumb, bowing out in two sets, 2-6, 2-6 and effectively surrendering the crown to National University.

Despite the tough loss, the DLSU Lady Tennisters played an improved season granting a team composed of a majority of rookies and a few seniors to lead. The girls topped the eliminations round with a 6-2 standing and improved to first runners-up after finishing at second runners-up last season.

Way to go, Lady Tennisters! Animo!