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.

Green Booters clinch finals seat after ousting reigning champs UP

After missing the grand stage in the last three seasons, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters made their return to the UAAP Men’s Football Finals behind a 2-1 victory over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons yesterday, May 9, at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

In their third meeting this season, La Salle avenged their semifinals loss in Season 80 against the eventual champions UP.

Team captain Jed Diamante dished a free kick to Jovan Marfiga inside the box, who scored the opening goal at the 20th minute. The Fighting Maroons came up with an answer as King Miyagi tied the game at 1-all at the 38th minute.

Shanden Vergara was a superhero anew after breaking the tie with a goal at the 77th minute, courtesy of an excellent assist from Mohammad Almohjili. His goal proved to be the last for both teams as La Salle emerged victorious.

The win sent the defending champions packing as the Green Booters clinched their first finals appearance in four years, or since Season 77, where they lost to the FEU Tamaraws.

Head coach Alvin Ocampo commended his team’s hard work. “We would not reach to the finals if all did not contribute.” For the past few games, Ocampo kept on shuffling his cards, giving almost everyone a chance to play and make an impact on the pitch.

As they head on to the finals, Ocampo knows that they will be going through enough preparations before everything else. “We need to be 100% healthy. Yun na ang pinakaimportant. Everything on the last game will be about heart and mental toughness.”

Vergara, who has been consistent all throughout the team’s campaign, showed grit once more after scoring the go-ahead goal. “It was a great feeling scoring for La Salle. I’m very happy that I scored, especially in a crucial match like this.”

The former De La Salle Zobel standout emphasized that they will continue to work hard until they get the crown. “We will prepare for the finals, which will be the most important game for us, especially for La Salle. We want to get that championship and we will work for it.”

The Taft-based squad have a chance to end their 20-year title drought as they return to the UAAP Men’s Football Finals. They last claimed the title in 1998 when La Salle won three of the last four championships from Seasons 57 to 60.

Support the DLSU Green Booters in their pursuit to bring back the throne to Taft as they face archrivals Ateneo on Thursday, 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.

Green Spikers survive Maroons late scare, exit Season 81 on high note

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Spikers edged the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons in a five-set thriller, 25-21, 25-21, 15-25, 23-25, 15-11, to end their season on a positive note earlier today at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

With both teams out of Final Four contention, It was a no-bearing game but they made sure to end this season with a bang.

On his last game representing the Green and White, team captain Cris Dumago led the way with a whopping 23 points off 18 attacks, three service aces, and two kill blocks.

It was a chess match, no team wanting to concede a two-point lead, until a smart placement hit by Wayne Marco put La Salle ahead by two, 13-11, which was then pushed further to five, 16-11, courtesy of a kill by Kieffer Reyes heading into the second technical timeout. The Taft-based squad maintained at least a four-point margin throughout the remainder of the set, before a Reyes c-quick handed La Salle the 1-0 set advantage.

The Green Spikers immediately jumped to a 4-1 lead following a crosscourt cut shot by rookie Bill Anima. The UP squad were still in step until a service ace by Dumago extended La Salle’s lead by five, 14-9. The Fighting Maroons attempted to rally some points, almost succeeding at some point, cutting the deficit to two, 14-16, following an attacking error by Geraint Bacon. However, the Green and White proved too strong for UP, immediately finishing the set, 25-21.

The Fighting Maroons refused to wave the white flag as the Green Spikers struggled to find their groove, committing errors after another, ending the lopsided third set with 11 miscues.

Once again, it was nip-and-tuck affair in the beginning of the fourth frame before the Taft-based squad started to pull away 11-6 following a Jerry San Pedro error. La Salle was still leading 16-12 in the second technical timeout, but Gian De Jesus’ service error after proved too costly as it initiated a 5-1 run by UP to tie the set at 17. No team wanted to concede the set, but it was a hammer by Consuelo off a free ball that sent the match to an extension.

Contrary to previous sets, UP got the upper hand in the beginning of the deciding set, 3-0, after a kill block on Dumago’s hit. However, Delos Reyes showed composure and refused to give the game up, scoring La Salle’s first three points to bring them in step, 3-4. Once again, The Maroons attempted to step on the gas pedal, pushing their lead to three, 6-3 following a Ruskin Ijiran soft hit. However, the Green and White got back to their senses and avoided a collapse to claim the game, 15-11.

Following Dumago’s stellar performance, Anima contributed 22 markers while Reyes chipped in 18. Setter Marco also tallied 32 excellent sets for the winning side.

Meanwhile, Millete scored 23, while graduating seniors Gian San Pascual and San Pedro had 16 and 14, respectively. Jerahmeel Baldelovar also showcased spectacular setting, tallying 33 for his team.

The Green Spikers finish the tourney at sixth place with a win-lose record of 5-9.

Lady Booters look to continue winning ways in Round 2

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

After topping Round 1 with a win-draw-loss record of 3-1-0, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Booters look to sustain their run in the second round of the UAAP Season 81 Womenʼs Football Tournament.

The defending champions opened their campaign with a whipping of archrivals Ateneo, before engaging in a draw with UST. They then blanked UP and punished FEU for their second and third wins, respectively.

Shai del Campo emerged as the teamʼs top-scorer in the first round. The rookie has notched a goal in each of the Lady Booters outings, including four in La Salleʼs 5-1 win against FEU.

The national squad skipper mentioned that the results they got were all fruits of the teamʼs hard work. She added, “It was made possible because everyone in the team did their part.”

The three-peat-seeking squad is confident of the chemistry that they have. Being a factor that pushed each player to her best ability, the Lady Booters aim to continue such rapport along with the continuous trust in each member of the team as they keep their eye on the goal to get each game done until the championship.

“We just have to continue pushing and believing in ourselves and our teammates,” Del Campo stated.

Despite leading the standings midway through the season, the defending champions are still far from where they want to be. Committing mistakes is still inevitable for the team.

Kyra Dimaandal lamented the teamʼs inability to start strong. “We start kind of slow. We warm up slow to
the game.”

However, a sure identified strength of the reigning back-to-back champions is their capacity to see and recover from it and obtain a series of improvements every game. Moreover, Dimaandal rated their attacking as “good, considering we never really had a permanent play to follow.”

The Green-and-White have been progressively carrying out impressive attacks brought out by their training and finding the right mindset before each game.

Dimaandal considered their matchup against the FEU Lady Tamaraws as the game that accentuated the best performance of the team.

Prior to their match against FEU, which also happened to be their last assignment in the first round, the team was able to make the necessary adjustments. “We were already able to adjust, know what to do and what not to do,” Dimaandal shared.

Furthermore, most of their lineup was fielded as a result of their performance. The veteran added, “It was also the game where most of the girls in the lineup were able to play.”

The DLSU Lady Booters will kick off Round 2 against the UP Fighting Lady Maroons tomorrow, 9 AM, still at the Circulo Verde Pitch.