The De La Salle Green Archers have an opportunity to build something that hasn’t been done by the team since the turn of the century.
Back over 13 years ago, the Green Archers had just won its fourth consecutive UAAP senior’s basketball title, adding more accomplishments to a brewing dynasty. And while a hungrier and better Ateneo Blue Eagles squad halted a potential five-peat, there’s no question that what La Salle did will forever be remembered in Philippine sports history.
In the past few years, though, DLSU students had to suffer through what some would call “The Dark Ages” of Green and White basketball. From 2009-2012, La Salle failed to make the Final Four round twice, and didn’t make it to the finals. While this isn’t something so disappointing – especially when you compare it to other UAAP schools that have been disappointments for quite some time – for a school as used to winning and excellence as DLSU, it were tough times.
But that changed last year, as the club went on to be crowned the basketball titleholders once again. The best part, though, was that most of the championship team’s core was returning, except LA Revilla who took his talents to the PBA Draft. Moreover, talented and impressive recruits have come on board, making La Salle even deadlier than they were last season.
When scanning the field, it would be safe to assume that most analysts will pick the Green Archers to repeat this season. While La Salle banks on continuity from their impressive campaign last season, its rivals are going through some changes.
Ateneo is welcoming eight new rookies and have lost a few key pieces.
UE still has Roi Sumang and Charles Mammie as their main guns, but they are still getting used to the system of new coach Derrick Pumaren and Mammie has shown episodes of immaturity once again.
UP is on the rise, leaning on a new brand of smallball basketball, but they are far from title contenders.
NU has looked good in the preseason, but there are questions on how they will perform in Year 1 without Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe.
Adamson is now without mentor Leo Austria, and the team is going through a rebuilding stage – similar to La Salle a few years back.
UST is still a threat with Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, and Aljon Mariano still there, though the club will have to learn the principles of their new head coach quick, while finding someone to replace the scoring and clutch prowess of Jeric Teng.
FEU is a threat because their new offense looks picture-perfect and because Mike Tolomia is playing amazing ball. But will the team look this great in the UAAP as they move on from RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo?
On paper, La Salle should win its second title, opening up the possibility of building another dynasty. However, that could be shut down if the Green Archers continue to exhibit their bad habits.
In their FilOil losses to JRU and UPHSD, La Salle got complacent after getting leads, and it led to their eventual downfalls. The club has a tendency to beat itself – they still need to improve on free throws and have to take better care of the ball.
Staring the defending champions of the UAAP right in the face is the chance to create something similar to what Ren-Ren Ritualo, Mac-Mac Cardona, and Mike Cortez accomplished all those years back. But to do that, La Salle needs to develop more of a killer instinct and stop playing down to the competition by taking care of the little things.
Once they do that, this team will be pretty much invincible.