A CALL FOR ‘ONE’ TO RISE! (from archerpride.com)
After my first editorial on ADMU, I was planning to write a separate editorial on our own team. But, from what I was reading from the opinions posted at that editorial, many seemed to have misinterpreted my thoughts to mean that ADMU had a superior team than ours. If one were to re-read my piece, you will notice that there is no such implication.
So, as I was about to write about our team, many events had already occurred. Patience everyone. This middle aged brain can only do so much at the same time.
Last Saturday saw the end of the regular season of the UAAP. As expected by a few, myself included, ADMU topped the double round robin with a 13-1 record while DLSU and FEU tied for 2nd at 10-4. The Green Archers ended the regular season they way they started it, with a loss to the top ranked Blue Eagles.
During and after the game last Saturday, I was amazed at the varied reactions by members of the La Sallian family. Many were disappointed, others disgusted, others frustrated while a few said, ok lang. I am one of the few who say OK LANG. To explain why I felt this, let’s have a brief background about our team.
Many have said, Coach Franz included, that last year’s batch of Green Archers was the weakest team he has ever had to work since coaching DLSU. And yet, we won the Championship against a team no one thought could be stopped – UE with an immaculate 14-0 regular season record. It was a bittersweet victory for Coach Franz for this championship erased the stigma and humiliation of a one year suspension from the league for ‘negligence’ regarding the eligibility of two former players. It was sweet as it VINDICATED the team, the players, the coaches, the management and the entire DLSU institution itself. It was personally bitter for Coach Franz because he accomplished it against his own younger brother whom he loves so much. You know to Coach Franz, family is everything. That’s the Pumaren family. Like yours too, I am sure.
The team began preparation in earnest for this season sometime late March. As many expected, TY Tang, Cholo Villanueva and Brian Ilad would not be back for the team having exhausted their eligibility. What did come as a surprise to everyone, was the decision of Kish Co and OJ Cua (two reliable role players in last year’s championship series) to opt to finish their remaining academic requirements and graduate this school year. That left the team with 5 vacancies – 3 expected and 2 unexpected.
Say what you want about Kish and OJ but both put in brilliant quality minutes for the team in the post season games against ADMU and, more importantly, against UE in the Finals. Their absence bore a deep hole into the frontline of the Green Archers.
Through recruitment and training, the team expected to cover this big gap by adding rookie Maui Villanueva into the frontline. Maui Villanueva, a stalwart of the Champion UPIS team of 2002 (when he was a 14 year old rookie), has honed his skills in the highly competitive Japanese high school circuit before coming to DLSU. Also, there were high hopes for Ferdinand and Walsham to finally come up with breakout and defining seasons. Lastly, it was expected that the comebacking Marko Batricevic would fill the need for a tall center who was also a scorer. So, all was set for the Green Archers this season.
Even though they lost the first game, hopes were high that the team would still be ‘in it’ due to the good recruits and what was expected to be a more solid frontline. However, that was not to be. Batricevic reinjured his ACL which took him out of the season in the first round game with UE just after, ironically, shooting a three-point shot. Also, Ferdinand and Walsham have so far been a bust all season long though glimpses of what they can do could be seen in our last three games. Glimpses nevertheless. This meant Maierhofer playing the 5 with Maui and James Mangahas left to rotate at the 4 & 5 positions. The rest of the team rotated among themselves the 1 2 and 3 positions. So Jvee brillantly spearheads our backcourt along with Simon, LA, PJ Barua, Bader, Hyram and the rest of the team. Our backcourt is solid for as long as Jvee is not sick or not having a RARE off night which everyone is entitled to.
This made the usual game plan of Coach Franz more difficult because all of a sudden, our front court (though never great shakes over the years) was very very very shallow. Without Ferdinand and Walsham showing their form from last year, DLSU’s frontline was its Achilles’ heel. And yet, because of the system that the team has played, they still managed to get the second best record for this season along with FEU. This shows the yeoman job the whole team has done regardless of the dearth in the bench. However, compared to previous years, the shallow frontline as allowed opponents to average more points against us this year, than in previous seasons.
Well, no matter what all the sports genuises and pundits have to say, DLSU is still in the Final Four. DLSU has been a main staple in the Final Four since the Final Four had been implemented in 1994 being in it all but one season – the season DLSU was suspended. Also, in the past 15 years, DLSU has been a finalist in 13 of those years. In the two years we did not make the finals, one of which was while we were suspended, ADMU made the Finals. It should be interesting to note that in those two Final appearances, ADMU lost – to FEU in 2003 and to UST in 2006.
So, DLSU is in the Final Four. First, DLSU has to try to beat FEU in a VIRTUAL best-of-three series. Something we did back in 2004 against ADMU. We all know who won the championship then. FEU is a tall, young and very athletic team. On almost all counts, FEU trumps DLSU. But a few factors are in DLSU’s favor and they are Casio, Maierhofer, the rest of the team and FRANZ PUMAREN! Stats will go FEU’s way. But, most of their main players have never been to the Final Four. So, only experience is riding on the shoulders of our players and coaches for the rest of the post season.
Inspite of that long intro, this editorial is not really about the team. It’s a call for ‘ONE’ to rise and support our team all the way. Last Saturday, I saw a lot of disappointed La Sallians blurt out all sorts of things against our team, our players and our coaches. Heck, some were even making statements that Casio had sold the game! “HOGWASH!” is what I say. Jvee Casio is probably the most loyal of all our current players, BAR NONE! He has already graduated from DLSU is now pursuing his Masters degree in Psychology so that he could play his final year. ALL FOR LOVE OF LA SALLE. Never in the many years that Jvee has played for DLSU has there ever been any instance where Casio did not give his all. Last Saturday, inspite of his best efforts, he just could not snap out what probably was his most off day ever in his entire life, something that rarely happens to Jvee but could not have come at a worse time.
I see those people who think that way as those who can’t and/or refuse to believe that ADMU really played well that day. Hey, overall, ADMU has been playing very well this season and, finally, you can see a level of consistency in their game. YES, ADMU CAN BE BEATEN!!! Just not last Saturday.
It’s time again, for me to raise the clarion call for ‘ONE’ to rise!
It’s time for ‘ONE’ to do his/her share to help our team achieve their best!
It’s time for ‘ONE’ to rise and be counted to flood the Araneta Coliseum and other venues to cheer the team to its limits!
It’s time for ‘ONE’ to stand up be hold our banner high and bright!
It’s time for ‘ONE’ to be ONE once again!
It’s time for ALL OF US to be that ‘ONE’ again!
Yes, the ADMU Blue Eagles and even the FEU Tamaraws are for real this year. But, DLSU have been for real for the longest time since 1989.
The Blue Eagles may be flying high, but if they hear steps rushing towards them, these are the steps they hear of the Green Archers breathing down their scrawny necks backed by a SEA OF ORDINARY GREEN ARCHERS (YOU AND ME) coming at them to bring the Blue Eagles down.
Fellow La Sallians, it’s time again for ALL OF US to be ONE LA SALLE! No matter the outcome, we will always be ONE LA SALLE!
For me, WE are the defending champions. And until the UAAP President gives the championship trophy later this month,
DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY ARE STILL THE CHAMPIONS! ‘Nuff said.
Are you ‘ONE’?
AN1MO LA SALLE!!!