A Golden Weekend for the Junior Lady Archers
By Louie Razon
Two championship games in two different leagues in two days? No problem.
After winning the Women’s Basketball League in December, the DLSZ women’s basketball team followed it up by winning the League of Southern Metro Manila Schools (LSMS), the “home league” of Brent International School on January 19. The Alabang girls completed the sweep of the five-team double round robin tournament by handily beating Brent on its own floor. After quickly establishing a first-quarter lead of 16-6, DLSZ never allowed the Brent girls to score more than 2 digits in any quarter until the fourth when coach Barry Tobias sent in the scrubs. Final score was 48-28.
The next day, January 20, saw the Junior Lady Archers facing much tougher opposition in the Metro Manila Basketball League. This time, DLSZ was facing Chiang-Kai Shek College in an opposite situation. It was the CKSC Lady Blue Dragons who had a spotless record in this tournament. Immediately prior to the WBL championship in December, DLSZ fell in a physical elimination round game played on the Chiang-kai Shek court. Senior veterans Angel Caldo and Sam Razon both went down early in the game and to make matters worse center Jamie Roxas was nursing a fever and wasn’t sent in until late in the second half. Still, the Junior Lady Archers kept it close until Chiang-kai Shek went on an 11-4 run to end the game.
In the semifinal round, Zobel faced its sister school and WBL Finals opponent, La Salle College Antipolo. The result was again the same. While the Antipolo girls fought valiantly, DLSZ was not to be denied and prevailed, 68-48. In the meantime, Chiang-kai Shek eliminated UNO High School to set the stage for the one-game final.
In the final game, DLSZ quickly established a 6-0 advantage but CKSC took advantage of numerous turnovers to come back and take the lead. Captain Kat Nuñez and super rookie Justine Domingo were connecting on their threes in this game but so were the Lady Blue Dragons. A fastbreak and successive triples by CKSC established the biggest lead of the game at 10 points and the teams went into the lockers with the Lady Blue Dragons holding a comfortable 38-30 advantage.
But the Junior Lady Archers would come back. DLSZ went on a 15-4 rally, nosed ahead 45-42 with 4 min gone in the third and eventually set up its own 8-point lead late in the third. With both teams using extremely short rotations, fatigue started taking its toll. What were previously sure triples by the CKS gunners in the first half became airballs and footraces for loose balls were invariably won by Zobel. Trouble once again arose though when sure-handed veteran Angel Caldo picked up her fourth foul and had to be pulled out of the game. She was followed to the bench by Justine Domingo, who also picked up her fourth foul in the 4th quarter. With CKS going on a box-and-one on Kat Nuñez, coach Tobias took a gamble and sent in Angel Caldo with 8 min to go in the 4th. It paid off. Angel preserved her fouls and finished the game in spite of playing tough D. With a slim two-point lead with 2 min to go, Angel Caldo would score on a crucial basket and a CKS basket was answered by two successive Justine Domingo jumpers, the last one with less than 30 seconds remaining. With DLSZ having fouls to give and CKS ironically paying the price of not being in penalty, DLSZ closed out the game to ultimately prevail, 66-60.
By winning the MMBL, the Junior Lady Archers made history as this was the first time the 30-year old tournament had ever hosted a women’s division. No MVP trophy was given in this league but there should be no question of who was deserving of it. Kat Nuñez scored 30 points in the final game in addition to setting up numerous baskets with her assists.
The MMBL gives the outgoing seniors: Kat Nuñez, Angel Caldo, Sam Razon, Bernice Morillo and Aca Obcemea their third gold medals of the year. Coupled with the three golds from last year, DLSZ class of 2013 can easily be considered one of the best in the school’s history.