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 Spikers yield to UST anew, bid farewell to four-peat dreams

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers bowed out of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament after losing anew to the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in five sets, 19-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23, 10-15, earlier today at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

After falling early into a deep two-set deficit against the Tigresses, the Lady Spikers showed a massive 14,000 crowd the heart of a champion, climbing back up and forcing a deciding set. However, it was just not for them as they eventually surrendered the game, the campaign, and the ever-elusive four-peat chase.

With this defeat, the Taft-based squad also snapped their decade-long Finals appearances.

In what was seeming like a straight-set victory for the Golden Tigresses, head coach Ramil de Jesus shuffled his cards and found an ace in Julia Ipac. The fourth-year spiker immediately converted consecutive kill blocks that ignited a 7-0 run for La Salle, which handed them an 18-15 lead. There was no looking back for the Lady Spikers as the entire team caught fire, keeping them alive in the contention, 25-20.

The Taft-based squad jumped to a 4-1 advantage, before UST head coach Kung Fu Reyes called for time and the España-based squad closed the gap to one, 3-4. Since then, it was nip-and-tuck affair as no team wanted to concede a three-point advantage, until Ysa Jimenez hammered a free ball, and brought them in front by four, 16-12. La Salle attempted to fight back, but a lucky return by KC Galdones gave UST the first set.

It was a similar encounter in the second frame: La Salle leads at the beginning, then UST overtakes. Five service errors committed proved too costly for the Green-and-White as every time they tried to build momentum, the serve fault breaks it.

This time around, it was the Gold-and-White who had the advantage at the head of the fourth canto, 5-1, following a series of errors by DLSU. But, the latter immediately made up and tied the set at five apiece. It was a nail-biter since then, as both teams refused to wave the white flag, countering every run the opposing team produces. La Salle maintained a three-point cushion towards the end of the set, avoiding a collapse and forcing a decider, 25-23.

Every time the Lady Spikers attempted to fight back, UST seemed like they always have the antidote. The Golden Tigresses glided to a 3-0 lead and maintained at least a three-point margin since then. De Jesus brought back in veterans Tin Tiamzon and Michelle Cobb in hopes of changing the complexion of the game, but to no avail. La Salle got to as close as a point, 10-11, following a bullet by Aduke Ogunsanya off a free ball. However, that proved to be their last point for the season as UST ran away to take the set and the match, and book their first Finals appearance since Season 73.

Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz spearheaded La Salle’s offense with 12 points, followed by team captain Desiree Cheng and Ogunsanya with 10 each. Lourdes Clemente and Ipac each chipped in seven markers, while May Luna contributed six markers.

On the other hand, Eya Laure exploded for 25 points, while team captain Sisi Rondina had 17 of her own. Galdones added 11, while Caitlyn Viray scored 10 for her team.

Team captain Desiree Cheng leaves the Lady Spikers as part of the UAAP Seasons 79 and 80 champion teams. She was the Finals MVP in Season 79 and the league’s Best Server in Season 80. On the other hand, Lourdes Clemente maxes out her UAAP eligibility after having played her first four collegiate years for the UPHSD in the NCAA.

Scores:

DLSU (2) 98 – Dela Cruz 12, Cheng 10, Ogunsanya 10, Clemente 7, Ipac 7, Luna 6, Tiamzon 4, Alba 1

UST (3) 108 – Laure 25, Rondina 17, Galdones 11, Viray 10, Jimenez 6, Bicar 5, Pacres 1

Late Zubiri goal catapults Green Booters to semis rematch vs UP

Photo by: Trinity Matias

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters made their return to the Final Four after winning their crucial match against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 1-0, on Thursday at the FEU Fern Diliman.

The victory gave the Green Booters an 8-1-5 slate and eliminated the UST Growling Tigers in the semis race. This also pushed them to the third seed, setting up a rematch with their Season 80 tormentors, the second-ranked UP Fighting Maroons.

It has been indeed a season filled with unpredictable and nerve-wrecking happenings. Now that we have reached the end of eliminations, the Taft-based squad finished strong with a win-draw-loss record of 8-1-5, placing third overall.

The Taft-based squad and the Morayta-based squad were aggressive to start the match. Although starting a bit slow offensively, La Salle made sure to keep their defense tight in order for FEU not to draw first blood. The Green Booters had a couple of chances in scoring, however, they just could not finish. Both teams engaged in a 0-0 first half scoring.

It was until the 90+1′ minute that the Green Booters were finally able to put themselves up on the scoreboard. Rookie Xavier Zubiri emerged as La Salle’s hero after scoring the go-ahead goal to sink FEU.

Head coach Alvin Ocampo believed that his squad did not back down until the final whistle has been blown. “They did not stop playing until the last minute, until they had fulfilled the instructions, which was to put the ball inside the net.”

Ocampo reminded the boys that “we have to make our destiny, we cannot rely to the result of other teams.”

Team captain Jed Diamante believed that everyone in the team really put their hearts during the crucial match. “Everyone in the team has an important role, even those who are part of the second stringers, they are always ready to play. I think everyone just wanted it that much to win para ma-hit namin ang first goal namin which is to enter the Final Four.”

Being part of the La Salle squad who were eliminated by UP, the reigning Best Midfielder vows that they “will enter with more passion and grit no matter who they are facing against.”

He added that they will prepare for UP but he wants to instill a certain mindset to his teammates. “Kahit sino yung opponent na itatapat, dapat same intensity ng play and same yung grit. That’s what I want to instill in their minds and their hearts para when it matters most so that when we (the seniors) graduate, yun ang maiwan namin na legacy sa younger generation ng La Salle Football.”

Support the Green Booters in the semifinals on Thursday, May 9, 2 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Lady Spikers succumb to UST, concede twice-to-beat advantage

Photo by: Flavius Dulce

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers absorbed a 1-3 defeat to the University of Sto Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, 14-25, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25 in a play-off for number two earlier today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

UST immediately jumped off to a 4-1 advantage following two consecutive errors by La Salle. Cherry Rondina then pushed their lead to five, 8-3 with a crosscourt hit that sent them ahead coming into the first technical timeout. Jolina Dela Cruz inched her team closer with a down the line kill, 10-13, but the Tigresses proved too strong for the defending champions. While the Taft-based squad attempted to rally themselves back, the Espana-based team wasted no time and blasted an imposing 9-3 run to finish the set in 25 minutes of play.

Contrary to the lopsided opening set, it was a different story in the second frame. Both squads were neck and neck until a service error by May Luna broke the deadlock and gave the opponent a two-point advantage, 9-7. In just a moment, the Green and White found itself staring at an eight-point deficit, 7-15 after 6-0 run by UST. To counter this, La Salle hopped on to their own 8-2 run, bringing themselves back in contention, 15-17. Eya Laure’s back-to-back down the line hits brought the Golden Tigresses to set point, 24-18. The Lady Spikers showed composure and cut the disadvantage to one, 23-24, before yielding the set.

This time around, La Salle got the upperhand in the beginning of the set, 6-1 following a Dela Cruz kill block, which immediately vanished as Rondina challenged the blockers to tie the score at seven apiece. DLSU trailed UST since then, but a service ace by Aduke Ogunsanya and another kill block by Dela Cruz switched up the tempo for the Green side. The Lady Spikers refused to wave the white flag and extended the game into a fourth canto.

The teams were nip-and-tuck, until a crosscourt spike by team captain Rondina gave her squad a four-point lead, 9-5, but a 5-0 run by the Lady Spikers capped by Luna’s down the line hit changed the tides for her squad, 10-9. Coach Kungfu Reyes’ timeout deemed effective as it transferred the advantage to them, 16-13 heading into the second technical timeout. From then on, UST’s spectacular floor defense partnered with DLSU’s errors proved too costly as it handed the opposing squad the victory.

Dela Cruz led the way for La Salle with 12 points, while Desiree Cheng and Luna chipped in nine apiece.

On the flipped side, Rondina scored a whopping 29 markers, and Laure added 17 of her own.

Both teams will face off against each other in the Final Four on Sunday, May 5 at the same venue.

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!

Lady Tennisters succumb to Lady Bulldogs in 12-hour Finals opener

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Tennisters dropped the opener of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Lawn Tennis Finals, 2-3, against the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs.

It took 12 long hours before a winner emerged in Game 1 at the CSA Bulacan Tennis Courts yesterday, April 7, also the feast day of DLSU’s founder St. John Baptist de La Salle.

With only one court used for the entire day, Akiko De Guzman started the championship round of the women’s division. De Guzman challenged Clarice Patrimonio again in the first singles that went the distance. The Taft-based Tennister yielded in the first set, 5-7, before taking the second set, 6-3, to force a decider. However, Patrimonio emerged victorious after winning the deciding set, 6-4, as NU drew first blood.

In the first doubles match of the game, the usual tandem of Jed Aquino and Arianne Nillasca notched a sweep against their opponents, Giza Antalan and Zam Dumlao, 6-2, 6-3. The win put La Salle on the scoreboard and evened things up against NU, 1-all.

La Salle pushed the tempo in the second singles as Lady Tennister Angel Santiago rode on the Green and White’s momentum. Her opponent, Annie Tumanda, claimed the first set, 7-5. However, Santiago would not be denied as she thwarted Tumanda in the second set, 6-4, before pulling away with a 6-1 victory in the final set. The three-hour match and the victory gave the Taft-based squad a pivotal 2-1 lead over the Jhocson-based squad.

NU would not come down just yet, however, as Mae Bornia and Alliah Ragunton made quick work of Kiezl Diaz and Jenni Dizon in the second singles match. The Lady Bulldogs took the first set, 6-3. Then, they finished the Lady Tennisters duo with a victory in the second set, 6-1, that also forged a deciding third singles match.

In the final match of the day, Aubrey Calma faced her second round tormentor Jzash Canja anew. Canja drew first blood with a 6-4 victory over Calma in the first set. Nevertheless, Calma did not come down without a fight as a 6-2 win brought both squads back to square one. In the deciding set, however, Calma could not keep her momentum as Canja routed her behind a hot 4-0 start.

The loss gave La Salle a two-game losing streak following six consecutive wins in the elimination round. This was also a back-to-back defeat from NU as the Lady Tennisters also ended Round 2 with a loss to the Lady Bulldogs.

Regardless, the DLSU Lady Tennisters look to bounce back in Game 2 against the same squad tomorrow, April 9, 8 AM at the same venue. A victory for La Salle will force a do-or-die Game 3 on Saturday, April 13, 8 AM at the same venue, while a loss will end their campaign at second place.

Vergara scores brace as Green Booters return to winning column

After struggling to find their groove into the second round, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters return to the winning column after frustrating the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons, 4-2, on Sunday at the FEU Fern Diliman.

Rookie John Rhey Lagura, who suffered from an injury back in the first round, got the chance to play again after getting inserted in the starting lineup of the Green Booters.

Adamson drew first blood as Pilarca maximized the opportunity to score a goal coming from a corner kick. However, just before the end of the half, Mateo Alegre managed to put up a game-changing equalizer to restore the morale of his team.

La Salle banked on an improved passing as the Green Booters were able to connect more in the second half. Lagura had a “welcome back” game after contributing a goal for his squad at the 63rd minute. Consistent scorer Shanden Vergara followed it up with another brace for the Green and White at the 67th and 69th minute. The Taft-based squad were up, 4-1, before Adamson converted a late goal for a final score of 4-2.

“Kailangan namin manalo kasi three games na kami hindi pa nananalo,” Vergara said. “We needed to win because crucial na and kailangan namin maging consistent as we move towards the end of eliminations.”

The Green Booters improved to 5-1-5 for 16 points as they hang on to their fourth place standing.

Head coach Alvin Ocampo, however, was not the most satisfied as he demands consistency from his team as they inch closer to the end of the eliminations. “We have to be consistent. We have to do better than our results during the first round.”

Ocampo emphasized that his team can score as early as the first half, and they do not have to wait for the second half to convert goals. “Kung kaya naman nila magtrabaho ng first half, then gawin na nila para makahinga ng konti ang team at para makalaro lahat ng players for their exposure, lalo na we are a very young team.”

The DLSU Green Booters will face their first round tormentors, the UE Red Warriors on Thursday, April 11, 9 AM at the same venue.