It’s not everyday that La Salle sees a player as gracious on and off the court as Jvee Casio. The Green Archers have been known to the outside world for bringing in bad-boy bruisers in their lineup, who are typically viewed as ones who try to taunt, trash-talk and outsmart their counterparts in ways that their opposition would not like. The most recent examples of these bruisers and trash-talkers would be Joseph Yeo, Mark Cardona and Ryan Araña. We may love them Archer Fans but these Archers are vilified by many rivals, especially the one engorged in blue and white. Truth of the matter is, they hardly like any UAAP player who puts on a green and white jersey with the words La Salle in trademark Old English text.
And then came Joseph Evans Casio from San Beda High School who, back in 2003, was tasked to anchor a team that was rookie-laden and still suffering from the pains of not achieving the coveted five-peat championship that they lost to the rival in blue and white. I remember seeing him first in a game in 2003 and when I look back from his rookie days days in 2003, he has really come a long, long way. He’s been also through a lot of wars and epic battles. He won the Rookie of the Year award despite being under the shadow of much-touted rookies such as his guard archnemesis Chris Tiu. He was one of the keys in the miracle run of the Archers back in 2004 and he hit one of the shots, a three pointer, that defined his UAAP career as a clutch performer in the UAAP Finals against the FEU Tamaraws in that same year. That shot of his even strengthened my fanaticism and adoration of the talent and the composure that Jvee Casio has.
He was also integral in the run of the Archers in 2005 where they finished second to the FEU Tamaraws in a rematch of the 2004 UAAP Finals. He was an integral part of that runs but he was under the shadows of star players like Yeo and Cardona. It was his time to shine in 2006 but a large roadblock of a controversy delayed Jvee’s enshrinement to superstardom by 1 year. La Salle was suspended after the management discovered that it had been allowing 2 illegit high school graduates to play for La Salle. It was hard to see La Salle down together with Jvee but it was worth the wait. He kept plugging in the minor leagues but he was awesome and spectacular. I remembered that the Archers were playing in minor summer leagues while the rest of the UAAP was on going. Time flew fast and fast forward to July 2007, the Archers were reinstated in the UAAP and it was time for Jvee Casio to assume the role of being one of the team’s stars.
Together with co-stars TY Tang and Cholo Villanueva which was the three-headed guard combination of La Salle all-season long, Jvee Casio kept his class act backed-up with his no nonsense game and he became the number one headache of coaches in the La Salle lineup. His high freethrow clip kept opponents from fouling him and he really developed his inside-outside game. During his early years, he was only known to be a spot-up shooter but through the years, he has developed his slashing moves to keep his opponents figuring out what his next move will be. He confused opponents with his repertoire of moves. If his opponents gave him enough distance, My most favorite moves from him are his step-back three pointers and his dribble penetrations that faze the opposition. Jvee lived up to the superstar billing that was tagged to him. The sweetest part of it is that they sealed the deal and came back from the suspension to win the 2007 UAAP Championship. They shocked the world and defeated the invincible UE Red Warriors in two games in the Finals. He won the Finals MVP together with Cholo Villanueva. Questions came in whether he will return and play out his final year of eligibility, but he silenced doubts when he agreed to play in his final year of eligibility.
2008, his final year with the Green and White and he still never ceases to amaze Lasallians on and off the court. He led the Green Archers to a finals appearance this season. They were against an uphill climb against the Ateneo Blue Eagles as they were completely outclassed due to Ateneo’s more superior lineup and the because of the referees who were at it again as was the case in Day 1. Though they lost to the arch-rival Blue Eagles via a sweep, he still never ceases to amaze me. Even in moments of defeat. Never ever. While we were chanting his name as a sign of appreciation for all of his best efforts (because no one made a thank you banner for him because we all thought that there will be a game three), he asked us to stop for a while and reserve the cheers for later because we were cheering when Ateneo was about to sing their victory hymn (congratulations to them). I just smiled quietly. What a class act on and off the court. La Salle has been truly blessed with a player like Jvee Casio with the gift of basketball and with the gift of character. We will surely miss his amazing drives to the basket, his dribble and dazzle moves that confuse the opposition, his three pointers that break the heart of a rowdy opponent. He will miss the gentle and the super classy but deadly character that he brought to La Salle. Aside from being a primary nightmare of the opponents in the court, he also brings his classy and wonderful act into the classroom, managing his Green Archer life and the regular La Salle student life well. He is one of the exemplary student-athletes that you can find in the UAAP.
I am forever grateful to Jvee Casio. He has brought La Salle basketball and DLSU in general to greater heights. He became the team ambassador, the marketing face of the team, and more importantly, he became the heart and soul of current crop of the Green Archers. He deserves his jersey to be retired and to be enshrined forever in greatness for what he’s done to La Salle. It’s the best that we can do for all of his contributions for DLSU. I wish him the best of luck in his professional career. Thank you Jvee for 6 years of Green and White. Thank you for 6 years worth of memories. It was worth the ride with you! You are one of the best players that carried the Green and White. MARAMING MARAMING THANK YOU SAYO CAPTAIN JVEE!
ANIMO JVEE CASIO!!! MABUHAY KA!!!