by Absolut Verde
Editor’s Note: While the entire basketball world remembers “The Shot over Ehlo” 20 years ago, we La Sallians will never forget “The Shot over Gelig”. It happened exactly 10 years ago from this day. Let us reminisce that memorable game wherein our Green Archers won their 2nd back-to-back championship.
It was 9 October 1999. Inside the Cuneta Astrodome, La Salle was playing Santo Tomas for the last UAAP basketball championship of the 20th century.
With 26 seconds to go and his team down by two, La Salle’s Ritualo shot from the side and missed. His teammate Allado, the league’s Most Valuable Player, followed up in one motion, missing as well. He fouled Lao, who went to the other side to shoot his free throws. The first was short. The next one bounced, circled the rim twice and rolled softly in. UST held a three point lead and were 18 seconds away from another date at the altar.
With no timeouts left, Aldeguer moved up court and found Ritualo who scampered to the corner, stalked by two tigers. Ritualo spun, faked, rose to shoot — then passed off to Allado who knew he had no chance. Allado sent it back to Aldeguer waiting behind the three point line. Aldeguer released, the weight of his shot calibrated by the offending contact of Gelig’s hand.
The ball hung in the air as the angels of Anguish and Mercy fought over the laws of physics. Then bedlam. Joaqui Trillo, after a moment of disbelief, shrieked again and again into his microphone in the drunken ecstasy of a man who mixed his metaphors but never his loyalties. Beside him, Jimmy Javier spilled his glass of Schadenfreude.
In that instant, a thousand virgins bit their lips then begged to be bound and savaged. All over the world, mothers changed their minds and christened their newborn sons Fernando, but could not explain why.
Entombed in the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano, the bones of Leo XIII, the Bishop of Rome who canonised Jean-Baptiste de la Salle and conferred upon Santo Tomas the title “Pontifical University”, stirred from their rest.
In Montevideo, the 59 year old writer Galeano sat by his window remembering the death of El Che 32 years before, and wondered whether everything that went astray on earth ended up on the moon.
Aldeguer fouled out in the extra period but his team did enough to win the game. Some time before the revelers arrived to celebrate at the College Canteen, an old groundskeeper passed by an empty classroom in St. La Salle Hall. No one believed him when he reported hearing an unseen harmonica play the slow notes of a song everyone there knew — a song he first heard at that very spot in 1961.
We did not witness the hex-breaking shot of our generation’s greatest homegrown player, playing in his farewell game. Carlos Felipe C. Flores (BS-AEC ’94) knocked our eyeglasses into the next row just as Allado made the pass. But we are certain this is what happened.