Still reeling from that heartbreaking loss to FEU a year ago, DLSU’s offseason preparation was marred by several setbacks.
Guard Kib Motalbo injured his ACL during the Filoil tournament, Robert Bolick, Terrence Mustre and Matt Salem opted out and took their games elsewhere and Arnold Van Opstal decided to forego his last playing year.
But perhaps the biggest letdown that year was when the UAAP declared prized Cameroonian recruit Ben Mbala ineligible for playing in an unsanctioned tournament. Recruited back in 2013 from Southwestern University, Mbala’s strength and talent was simply a cut above the rest.
All these, along with the graduation of veterans Almond Vosotros, Norbert Torres and Yutien Andrada and you have Green Archers squad that is heavily decimated in experience and talent. With only 6 holdovers and 9 newcomers, the prospect of them competing for a championship has become somewhat deflating.
As expected, the team struggled early on as they dealt with injuries to key players and also cohesion issues. They managed though to close out the first round at 4-3 following a morale-boosting win over Ateneo.
Similar to their 2009 and 2011 campaign, they experienced yet another round 2 collapse as they lost 4 of their next 5 games. Hard-earned victories over UE and UP helped keep the Green Archers’ Final Four hopes alive as they look to force a playoff with NU for the last spot.
In a must-win situation in their final elimination round match, DLSU would face an FEU team who had already secured the second twice-to-beat advantage.
With nothing to gain, the Tamaraws deliberately gave more playing time to their non-starters. But despite the all the chances, the Green Archers still could not get it done, losing the game by just three.
It was another disappointing season for the team which eventually resulted to a major coaching revamp a couple of months later.
This sets the stage for a major comeback next season.