As we commemorate the Green Archers’ 30th season in the UAAP, we rounded up what we feel are the 30 memorable moments (good and bad) in the team’s short yet colorful history in the league.
1. First Finals (1988)
Just in its 3rd year in the league, the Dindo Pumaren-led Green Archers faced nemesis and defending champion ADMU.
Though they lost, this laid the foundation for the team to be a legit title contender in the seasons to come.
2. The Bridesmaid Era (1994-1997)
Before the Green Archers won 4 straight titles at the turn of the century, they endured the pain of finishing 2nd in four consecutive seasons (1994-1997). Three of them came at the hands of UST who went on to achieve a four-peat in 1996.
3. Payback Finally! (1997)
After three straight seasons of frustration at the hands of UST in the finals, the Green Archers finally get their revenge as they overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the Final 4 to beat the Growling Tigers and ending their 4-year reign as champions.
Though La Salle again in the finals, this time to FEU, just getting over the hump of beating their fiercest rival in the 90s (It wasn’t ADMU) was still something special.
4. The Comeback (2002)
Behind the heroics of Mike Cortez and Joseph Yeo, the Green Archers came back from an 18-point deficit in the final period to beat UST in overtime.
5. Almost A One Big Fight! (2003)
Without the injured Mac Cardona, 4th seeded DLSU beat ADMU 76-72 in OT to force a deciding match in the Final 4 series. This was the then rebuilding Green Archers’ first win over the top seeded Blue Eagles this season.
Of course, this game will be best remembered for the near free-for-all.
6. The First Championship (1989)
In only took the Green Archers 3 seasons to claim their very first UAAP championship as they defeated the FEU Tamaraws in the finals.
7. The Legend of Dino Aldeguer (1999)
Down 3 in the closing seconds of Game 3 of the 1999 Finals, the Archers appeared to be in the brink of another Finals loss to UST.
But Dino Aldeguer hit the perhaps the biggest shot in team history, a three pointer to eventually send the game to OT. La Salle went on to win their 2nd of 4 straight titles thanks to the Archer who wants to be remembered as the one who had the biggest heart of all.
8. Back-to-Back (1990)
The Green Archers, coached by Derrick Pumaren, swept the entire elimination round and would have won the title outright via a 14-0 sweep (No Final 4 at that time), but the UAAP board forfeited 3 of their won games due to the ineligibility of rookie Noli Locsin. As a result, La Salle needed to face UE in the Finals with the Archers having the twice to beat.
After losing Game 1, the team bounced back to beat the Red Warriors to win their back-to-back title.
9. Finally! We Beat Them (2010)
It was all Ateneo over La Salle in the latter part of the 2000s until the early 2010s. From their return after a one year hiatus in 2007 until 2012, the Green Archers have only beaten the Blue Eagles in the elimination round just once.
And that win came on Jul 25, 2010 when sophomore Joseph Marata came up big down the stretch to lead La Salle to a 66-63 triumph over their rivals.
10. Opening Day Beatdown (2000)
July 15, 2000; The first UAAP Game of the new millennium and the first year of ABS-CBN Sports’ coverage of the league.
What a way to start the new season by pitting two bitter rivals against one another. The Green Archers, seeking its third straight title going up against Ateneo, who look revitalize their basketball program after the so-called “Dark Ages” in the 90s.
Much hype surrounded the Blue Eagles that season. After finally reaching the final 4 the previous year, they look to finally claim the title they last won in 1988. They were in fact labelled as the “Dream Team” heading in to this season.
La Salle was behind by seven at the half, 39-46 but was able to recover in time courtesy of its fullcourt press and trapping defense en route to the resounding triumph to the score of 94-70
RenRen Ritualo led all scorers with 23 pts but it was a rookie named Mike Cortez that made the biggest impact, finishing the game with 14 pts, 10 assists and 6 steals.
With the win, the Green Archers established themselves as still the team to beat. They went on to become three-peat champions.
11. Ritualo Letting it Rain (1999)
With the top spot in the final 4 on the line, the Green Archers faced UST without veterans Dino Aldeguer and Don Allado who were stuck in traffic due to the heavy rains.
But inside the arena, it was also raining, raining threes that is as Ren Ren Ritualo carried the scoring loaded for the undermanned Green Archers. He finished the game with 33 points as La Salle defeated the Growling Tigers.
12. Bridesmaid No More (1998)
After years of frustration that followed after winning its last title 8 years ago, the Green Archers are finally back as the kings of the UAAP as they beat FEU 2-0 in the finals
And you can see how Dino Aldeguer just let it all out by throwing the ball to the crowd.
To the person who has that ball now, lucky you!
Note: This was the last time that fans can run inside the court in Araneta during a won championship
13. So Close, Yet So Far (1994)
In the closing seconds of Game 3 of the UAAP Finals, UST’s Bal David’s made two pressure-packed freethrows to put the Tigers up by a point.
With 6 seconds left in the ensuing play, Green Archer Mark Telan missed on a fastbreak bank shot. Teammate Elmer Lago got the offensive rebound but missed two uncontested follow-up shots, just inches away from the rim.
Game over. UST wins their 2nd straight title
14. The King Archer has Arrived (2012)
With the game tied at 51 with 3 seconds remaining, the Green Archers went to their rookie Jeron Teng for the final play and he delivered.
And this shot perhaps sealed his place as the main man for the team even in just his first year.
15. Three-Peat (2000)
No one can stop the Green Archers this time.
La Salle gets their three-peat against FEU, incidentally the same that “denied” them of this feat back in 1991 due to a boardroom decision.
16. Say Hello to Captain Hook (2001)
Just like the previous year, the Green Archers had an early collision with Ateneo to open the UAAP season. And once again, they won overwhelmingly to the score of 91-76. Ren Ren Ritualo, in his final season for La Salle led all scorers with 33 points.
But what gained more attention is the debut of this then-unknown rookie named Mark Cardona, who finished the game with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal, with eight of his points coming in the payoff quarter.
Exemplary were his intensity and vivacity particularly on the defensive end, as he tirelessly hounded Ateneo’s error-prone guards until the very end.
“Cardona is heaven sent. He’s a tireless worker. He’s just a walk-in in the Archers’ training camp” praised Coach Franz then of his new recruit who has an unorthodox way of putting up a shot, which is more like of a semi-hook.
17. Jeron For the Win (2013)
Just among one of his many big shots in his collegiate career, Jeron Teng hits the game winner to give the Green Archers its first season sweep over Ateneo in a very very long while.
18. The Championship that Never Was (2004)
The Green Archers defeated FEU in Game 3 of the 2004 UAAP Finals thanks to the heroics of sophomore JV Casio who hit a clutch trey in the closing seconds of the match.
Despite this championship being forfeited eventually a year later due to a player eligibility issue, it cannot be denied that this is perhaps is one of the best finals series we have witnessed.
FEU may have won on paper (again), but it no denying that the Greem Archers were the better team that year.
19. Bringas to Victory (2009)
Rookie Arvie Bringas dished out a breakout game of 21 points and 8 boards as the Green Archers came back from a 17-point deficit to beat UST in two overtimes, 101-92.
Senior PJ Barua was also instrumental in this game, hitting a three to send the game to 2nd OT and again nailing one that somehow changed the complexion of the game.
20. Maui at the buzzer (2008)
Another addition to the long list of memorable wins against UST. This time from rookie Maui Villanueva.
21. Thanks 4 The Memories (2001)
The Green Archers defeated Ateneo to claim their 4th straight UAAP title. It was the first time both squads met in the finals since 1988. The series went the full distance.
It was also a fitting end to Ren Ren Ritualo’s legendary collegiate career.
22. Started from the Bottom Now We Here (2013)
It was a disappointing start for the Green Archers in UAAP Season 76, losing their opening game to UST and eventually finishing the first round at 3-4.
And just when everyone thought their season is over, the Green Archers regrouped after a long 2-week break due to the FIBA tournament held in Manila.
The team went on a 9-game winning streak which included a sweep of the second round and 2 playoff victories over FEU.
From being at the bottom half of the standings, La Salle is back in the UAAP Finals for the first time in 5 years.
23. First time to miss the semis bus (2009)
The Green Archers finished UAAP Season 72 with a 5-9 record, its worst record in the league in nearly 23 years. They missed the Final 4 for the first time since the format was first implemented in 1994 thus ending the longest active streak then of post-elimination round play.
This was also the end of Coach Franz Pumaren’s tenure as head coach where he led the team to 5 titles.
24. End of a Dynasty (2002)
Aiming for their 5th straight title, the Green Archers breezed past the opposition in the elimination round and were on track for a 14-game sweep.
But unfortunately, they suffered a stunnng defeat to ADMU in their last game of the 2nd round. And with this loss, their fortunes took a turn for the worse the rest of the way.
The Blue Eagles overcame a 2 to beat disadvantage in the final 4 to set a title rematch with the Green Archers. With the momentum on their side and hungry to win their first title since 1988, ADMU scored a huge upset, winning the series in 3 games.
For the Green Archers, it was a bitter end to their 4-year dominance in the UAAP. What could have been a memorable season turned in to heartbreak.
25. Final Four-ward (2012)
From 2009 to 2011, the Green Archers’ UAAP campaign was always been derailed by FEU.
In their playoff match for the last Final 4 seat, the Tamaraws were up by 10 with 6:46 left in the game. It appeared the Green Archers’ will miss the semis bus for the 3rd time in 4 years.
Refusing to fall victim once again to FEU, the Green Archers went on an amazing 19-6 scoring run in the last 6 minutes to win the match 69-66.
26. Out for a Year (2006)
As a result of an eligibility issue, DLSU did not participate in UAAP Season 69. This includes all other sports teams in the seniors and juniors division.
They instead played in minor events such as the newly-formed FilOil Flying V tournament wherein they because its first ever champion.
It was indeed a major setback for the team but they remained competitive throughout the year in preparation for a grand comeback next season.
27. Back with a Vengeance (2007)
After a year off, the Green Archers made a triumphant return in the UAAP by winning its 7th championship.
But the road to redemption did not come easy. They won a tightly-contested semis series with Ateneo, a team they had not beaten in the elimination round. Come the finals, they overcame the odds by beating a UE team that swept the elimination round to clinch the title in two games.
28. The Controversial Championship (1991)
The year was 1991, the Green Archers, led by veterans Jun Limpot and Johnedel Cardel are aiming to win their third straight title.
After dominating the elimination round, the team just needed to win once in the Finals to claim the crown. Standing in their way are the FEU Tamaraws, anchored by Johnny Abarientos and Vic Pablo.
With La Salle up by 7 with a little more than 2 minutes left in game, rookie Tony Boy Espinosa committed his 5th foul. When play resumed and the game clock already ticking, the referees stopped the game after seeing that Espinosa was still inside the court.
It turns out that the table officials did not notify the referees that Espinosa already has 5 fouls.
FEU protested and asked the officials to reset the game clock and give La Salle a technical foul. But none was issued and played resumed with La Salle eventually winning the match 80-77.
FEU placed the game under protest thus no trophy was awarded that day.
A few days later, the UAAP board orderd a replay of game 1 but the Green Archers no longer showed up to play. Despite needing to beat La Salle twice, they already awarded the championship to FEU.
The investigation went on for months and even with the BAP and FIBA’s recommendation that there should have been no replay, the UAAP Board stood firm with their decision to declare FEU as champion.
Was it right to demand a technical foul on La Salle despite the table officials’ admission of negligence?
Was a replay really necessary?
Should La Salle just have showed up in the replay? They would have still won the match anyway.
29. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It (2005)
With the score at 72-54 and less than 30 seconds remaining, the Green Archers were on the verge of eliminating Ateneo in their Final 4 series.
Then Ryan Araña did this.
30. Back on Top (2013)
After 4 years of futility, the Green Archers are once again the kings of the UAAP after a thrilling overtime win against UST in game 3 of the Finals.