A new decade begins.
First year out of the Franz Pumaren era and into the supposed Dindo era. The year the classic jerseys were back. The year DLSU hosted. The year redemption was the battle cry. And the year of the free ice cream!
After the disappointing finish the previous year, the entire Lasallian community was looking forward to a fresh start with Dindo. Although everybody knew what system he’ll deploy (hello 2007 championship sweep!), redemption was the fuel to the fire of the Green Archers.
If we take a look at the team that season, they were really young with only Simon Atkins and Ferdinand being the only real veterans with championship experience. There were no 5th-year guys as James Mangahas, Kish Co and PJ Barua decided to forego their final playing year. Also gone were Hyram Bagatsing, Bader Malabes and surprisingly, Arvie Bringas, who after a superb rookie season, was supposed to be the cornerstone for the Green Archers in the years to come.
With no senior players and more than half of the team being just sophomores and rookies, it was indeed another rebuilding year. And we can probably say that this was the start of the carousel of player movements that we have witnessed throughout this decade.
And how fresh were those retro jerseys?! (Oh the irony). Most of the students who were in DLSU in 2010 did not see Ritualo, Yeo, Cardona, Cortez, and the rest of the “basag ulo” era (and a little bit of dancing, right Araña?) rocking those jerseys, but they sure were a hit!
The team was off to a good start that season: thrashing the Maroons by double digits. The next games in the first round were up and down. Then came the game we’ll remember forever, thousands were lucky enough to be in Araneta that day: down 9 against the eagles with 3 minutes to go, most of the crowd felt like its another loss against the dark side. Then Sam Marata hit 2 clutch triples, the lame ducks of Katipunan turning the ball over and over again, and after two loooong years (which is also attributed as the curse of ID 108), finally the world was balanced again. Walking out of the coliseum never felt better, strutting around with head held high. Who wouldn’t be? We finally won after two frustrating years where those boastf…… sorry got carried away. The bonus was the whole school got free ice cream from FIC!
The team ended the first round on the fourth spot (also winning against UE, UST) Not bad for a team that doesn’t really have a go to guy and just relies on the system, together with that grit and grind press of the team.
One thing was evident those first few games: we can’t pull away with the win in close situations The second round saw an improvement, winning close games against FEU (double OT in the first round, league leading at the time) and NU. Unfortunately the magic in the first game against Ateneo did not rub off on the second encounter. We got whipped that game. So let’s not talk about it.
We finished the eliminations 8-6, good for 4th seed. It was the first time in a long time that we entered the final 4 without the twice to beat advantage. Against the league leading Tamaraws, our young core pushed them to their limits, almost pulling off an upset, leading until the Tams came charging back and forced OT, where the bigger and more experienced team marched on to the finals.
Overall, that season of the Green Archers was a good run. The team over achieved considering the core group’s youth, and with the team remaining intact for the next season, the community’s expectation sky rocketed. We’ll surely go deep in the final 4 next season!
Or so we thought…
Luigi dela Paz