5. Spoiled 5-peat of the DLSU Lady Woodpushers
The women’s chess team was on the verge of making a historic 5-peat championship run but was spoiled by an FEU team which was led by their prized MVP, Janelle Frayna. What hurts even more is the fact that they only lost by a single point.
La Salle was also aiming for a potential rare double championship in chess as the Green Woodpushers won the championship in the men’s division. This was also the end of the UAAP career of one of the most celebrated athletes of DLSU, Jan Fronda who has helped bring home four UAAP championships to La Salle.
4. 2-3 loss of the DLSU Green Booters in the championship match against FEU
After being unbeaten the entire elimination round and barging into the finals via a victory over rival Ateneo in the Semifinal, La Salle was in good shape to take their first championship in UAAP football in a long time.
The Rizal Memorial Stadium was filled with supporters from both squads and the tension throughout the whole game was off the rafters. The Green Booters scored the first goal from a beautiful strike from Captain Gio Diamante off a corner at the 59th minute of the game. FEU patiently waited for the perfect opportunity then at the 71st minute, Giganto scored to tie the game. In the last 10 minutes of the game, Sabin Bustamante gave La Salle the lead back but just a few minutes after, FEU countered with a Jhan Jhan Melliza goal. Extra time. FEU drew first blood with a goal by Paolo Bugas just four minutes into the first half of extra time. DLSU would not have another good shot at goal as FEU applied their delaying tactics to perfection until the final whistle.
It was a great game but one cannot deny that it is still painful to think that at one point, the DLSU Green Booters were just a few minutes away from bringing home another football crown.
3. DLSU Lady Archers’ back-to-back late game collapses against FEU
When a team gains a twice-to-beat advantage entering the UAAP final four, it’s almost automatic that they will make it to the finals. Unfortunately, the Lady Archers lost twice to the Lady Tamaraws in their heated semis series.
During the first game of the Final Four series against FEU, DLSU was in command almost the entire game; it looked as if it will be a runaway for the Lady Archers. They mounted a 15-point lead in the 3rd quarter only to see FEU shoot their way back into the game and eventually take the lead at the last few minutes of the 4th quarter. La Salle lost the game 56-61.
In the do-or-die game, it was basically like watching the replay of what happened in Game One. The Lady Archers once again dominated early and got a big lead in the 3rd quarter but once again saw FEU slowly claw their way back. The game went into overtime. The Taft-based squad had a four-point lead early and it once again seemed that the game was theirs but FEU had other plans. With just around 30 seconds remaining and the game tied, La Salle’s Trisha Piatos got fouled in the act of shooting. She split her crucial free throws. FEU then countered with an under goal stab from April Siat to give them a one-point lead. Just a few ticks left on the game clock, Piatos, for the last time brought down the ball for the Lady Archers, passed it to Camille Claro for an open corner three but she missed. DLSU succumbed to FEU thrice in four games.
What hurts even more is that the Lady Archers were the defending champions and they did not even get a chance to play in the finals. It was also a painful way to exit for the graduating players of the Lady Archers led by former Finals MVP Trisha Piatos, Captain Miller Ong, Cassandra Santos, Niky Scott, Inna Corcuera and Nicky Garcia.
2. That Mac Belo triple
Who could forget it? Who? That corner three point shot which shattered the hearts of many Lasallians. The triple that no one will ever forget.
Another do-or-die game. Another one against FEU. With the game tied and the shot clock turned off, FEU’s Mike Tolomia drove hard to basket and kicked out to an open Mac Belo for a corner three. BANG. The ball barely hit the rim. It was a shot that went in smoothly right at the buzzer. One half of the arena rejoiced while the other half fell silent. It was as if the world stopped for a bit. Just like that the Green Archers were dethroned.
Losing in that manner was extremely painful. No one ever wants to lose that way. To add to that, it was the final game of one of the best three point shooters to ever play for La Salle, Almond Vosotros and two formidable bigmen in Norbert Torres and Yutien Andrada.
1. Ara Galang and Camille Cruz’s season-ending injuries
More than all the painful losses, the missed opportunities, the wasted chances, nothing hurts more than losing players to season-ending injuries.
When Ara Galang fell down at the latter stages of the 4th set of their game, it was like a nightmare. Everyone said his or her prayers while waiting for the medical bulletin and when it came out, it was every supporter’s biggest fear. A left knee injury far worse than one could imagine. An anterior cruciate ligament tear, a medial collateral ligament tear, bone bruises, and a meniscus tear. Out for the season.
Losing Ara Galang was painful enough but it did not stop there. In their next match, also at the latter stages of the set, Camille Cruz went down hard on her right knee. Once again everyone hoped for the best but when the medical bulletin came out, it was almost identical to what Ara suffered. The only difference is that instead of an ACL tear Camille suffered an LCL (lateral collateral ligament) tear. It was Camille’s third major knee injury in the last four years.
Nothing is more painful than seeing such dedicated players be sidelined due to injuries, which are beyond anyone’s control. Truly heartbreaking.
This UAAP season has been very tough for La Salle, but the best part about suffering so much heartbreak is that it only makes one stronger. As the saying goes, the most painful setbacks precede the most wonderful triumphs.