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    (From DLSUSports.com by Camilla Saguin) The DLSU Lady Spikers uncorked their UAAP Season 77 campaign with a victory after beating the Adamson Lady Falcons in four sets, 25-23, 24-26, 25-14, 25-17 at the San Juan Arena earlier tonight.

    The Lady Spikers had a very rusty start in the first set but were able to climb back with the help of Kim Fajardo’s steady serves for her team to eventually win the set.

    The second set was pretty much like the first, with DLSU having a shaky start, but this time a late rally was insufficient as they dropped the second set to Adamson despite taking a set point.

    In the third and fourth sets, the Lady Spikers were finally able to get their blocking and reception going to build unassailable advantages to dispatch Adamson easily.

    Captain Ara Galang led the DLSU Lady Spikers in scoring with 27 points coming from 22 attacks and 5 blocks. Camille Cruz was a spark off the bench while Kim Fajardo displayed game-long brilliance in setting for the taft-based squad

    The DLSU Lady Spikers will be facing the NU Lady Bulldogs on their next game which will be on Wednesday, November 26, 4pm at the San Juan Arena.

    In men’s play earlier in the day, the Green Spikers drop their season opener to UP  25-22, 21-25, 14-25, 25-23, 12-15.

    For more news visit, DLSUSports.com

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      Three images encapsulated the UAAP Season 76 Women’s Volleyball Finals.

      One was a picture of Aby Maraño and Ateneo libero Denden Lazaro locked in an embrace, both of them in tears, surrounded by thousands of people, with cameras pointed and clicking all around them. A gesture of sportsmanship and respect between the two rivals.

      Another was an image of the Lady Eagles celebrating their first women’s volleyball title. The thrill of victory.

      The third image stood out more than the others. It was a picture of the DLSU Lady Spikers, all standing in a semi-circle, their uniforms resembling army fatigues. They all had their arms up in a salute, and their eyes welled with tears. They are saluting someone in front of them, that someone being Maraño, who had played her final UAAP game.

      She was the last to receive her silver medal later on, and as she got to the podium, she was handed a bouquet of flowers together with the medal. She tried to fight back the tears, and managed a smile and a wave to the mammoth crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena, ending the career of one of the most decorated volleyball players for La Salle.

      Gone are Maraño’s words of encouragement during team huddles, numbing spikes, and patented celebrations after she scores points. This is a team that had won titles even after the loss of players like Jacq Alarca, Steph Mercado, and Cha Cruz. But the question still has to be asked: How do you replace someone who did a little bit of everything and more for the team?

      Last Year’s Record: 14-0 in the elimination round; secured thrice-to-beat advantage in the Finals, forcing a step-ladder in the semifinals; lost to the Ateneo Lady Eagles in the Finals in four games (won one game, lost three games);

      Team Additions: Two rookies: Christine Joy Soyud and Aduke Christine Ogunsanya. Both Soyud and Ogunsaya were already included in the team’s line-up for the Philippine National Games. Returnee: Justine Tiu.

      Team Losses: Two-Time Most Valuable Player and Season 75 Best Server Aby Maraño, Mika Esperanza (ACL injury), Denise Tan.

      Holdovers: Season 74 Rookie of the Year and Season 75 MVP Ara Galang, Season 76 Best Setter Kim Fajardo, Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Desiree Cheng, Cienne Cruz, Camille Cruz, Joy Baron, Kim Dy, Dawn Macandili, Carol Cerveza.

      The Off-Season: After being denied in the UniGames last year by a resurgent FEU side, the Lady Spikers, led by Galang, toppled the NU Lady Bulldogs in four sets to win the tournament. The Philippine National Games was another tournament joined by Lady Spikers last May, where they swept the eliminations but lost to the Philippine Air Force in the Finals after five thrilling sets.

      The Competition: The biggest challenge the Lady Spikers face is, of course, the team that pulled the rug from under them in the Finals, the Lady Eagles. The team’s core of players, which survived five elimination games in the stepladder semis and finals to win the title last year, will all be back for Season 77. Leading the charge is Season 76 Finals MVP Alyssa Valdez, as well as libero Denden Lazaro, Amy Ahomiro, Ella De Jesus, and sophomores Michelle Morente and Jia Morado. Further bolstering their line-up are rookies such as Bea de Leon, Therese Gaston, and Maddie Madayag, making their strong line-up even more formidable.

      The NU Lady Bulldogs, who finished second in the eliminations last year and initially loomed as a finals opponent for the Lady Spikers before coughing up a twice-to-beat advantage to the Lady Eagles, are another contender. They lost Dindin Santiago and Mina Aganon, with both players having exhausted their playing years. Season 75 Rookie of the Year will likely not suit up for the Lady Bulldogs as well, having suffered an injury during the off-season. The team, however, still has the 6’’5’ Jaja Santiago, as well as Season 75 Best Attacker Myla Pablo and setter Ivy Perez, and with the younger Santiago gaining a year of experience, this is a team that is still stronger than others and can still contend for the crown.

      The Adamson Lady Falcons, hitherto known for their defense, will need their holdovers and newcomers to fill the void left by several of the team’s graduating players, including Season 75 Best Server and last year’s team captain Sheila Pineda, Mayette Zapanta, and May Macatuno. Bannering the Adamson cause is team captain Faye Guevarra, as well as holdovers like Amanda Villanueva and Mylene Paat.

      The FEU Lady Tamaraws are one of the younger squads in the UAAP, but after winning the first conference of the Shakey’s V-League, the team believes that it is ready to take the next step and figure in the mix for the Final Four. They will be led by Bernadette Pons, one of the deadliest scorers in the league last season, as well as Gyzelle Sy, Remrem Palma, and libero Tin Agno.

      Several blue-chip rookies will be making their debuts in the UAAP, but none has received more attention that EJ Laure, daughter of PBA player Eddie Laure, who will be playing for the UST Tigresses this year. The Tigresses, who were crowned as the UniGames champion last year, will be led by veterans Carmela Tunay, Pam Lastimosa, and Jessey De Leon, while Laure, who already made an impact with her stint with the team during the Shakey’s V-League, is also expected to immediately contribute to her squad.

      Outlook: For the first time in a while, the Lady Spikers are in unfamiliar territory, sailing on uncharted waters: they are entering Season 77 as one of the contenders, but not the clear favorite to win the title.

      But after auspicious stints in the PNG (where they narrowly lost to a team composed of former UAAP players from different teams) and the UniGames (when they handily defeated an NU side that is considered as another contender), the Lady Spikers have proven that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

      Despite the loss of Maraño, the team will still parade the core of a line-up that made the finals last season, led by Galang, Reyes, and Fajardo, who are all part of the Philippine National team, which is being coached by De Jesus. Players like libero Cienne Cruz, Cyd Demecillo, and Camille Cruz will be back for the Lady Spikers, both of them integral parts in their run to a sweep of the elimination round and finals stint. Rookies Desiree Cheng, libero Dawn Macandili, Kim Dy, and Mary Joy Baron will all have a year of experience under their belts, which bodes well for their confidence as well as the team’s overall chemistry.

      But with almost every team retooling during the off-season, games will not be easily won and opponents cannot be overlooked. The possible loss of Mika Esperanza due to an injury leaves Fajardo as the only setter of the team. Reyes, Demecillo, Cheng, and the rookies will all have to increase their scoring output to blunt the impact of Maraño’s absence. Galang has already been named team captain by De Jesus, and while she may not be as fiery as her predecessor, it will be up to her to rally her teammates when they experience a dearth in scoring or a deficit they need to overcome.

      Whether or not the Lady Spikers can topple the Lady Eagles remains to be seen, but the immediate goal would be to pile up as many wins to secure one of the top two seeds in the standings and nab a twice-to-beat advantage. If last season proved anything, it’s that nothing is set in stone.

      The First Game: The Lady Spikers will begin their quest to reclaim the UAAP volleyball crown this Sunday, November 23, 4pm at the San Juan Arena.

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        (From DLSUSports.com by Brian Lance Tamayao) – In a battle of undefeated teams in the 2014 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Elite 8, the reigning PCCL champions DLSU Green Archers emerged as winners against the San Beda Red Lions, 61-56 after withstanding a late comeback by the NCAA kings.

        Jeron Teng produced a healthy stat line with 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks to keep his team invincible in the eight-team tournament that pits the best college basketball teams against each other. Ben Mbala also racked up nine points alongside 14 rebounds and Thomas Torres also had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.

        The Bedans started the game ahead by five after an 8-0 run that allowed them to take a lead as big as seven. The Red Lions banked on trips to the freethrow line to create a noticeable gap between them and the Lasallians.

        La Salle pounced back in the second quarter with the starters teaming up well with the spark plugs from the bench to erase San Beda’s lead by halftime. Jeron scored three game-tying baskets in the dying minutes of the first half to make it a virtual back-to-zero affair in the second half.

        The Lasallians flaunted their muscles on defense by allowing the Red Lions to score just one field goal and five points in total. Offensively, the Green Archers displayed fine shooting to erect a 14-point advantage heading into the last 10 minutes of the game.

        The Red Lions fought back right away in the fourth to trim the deficit to eight via a quick 6-0 run off La Salle’s miscues. The boys in red came as close as five points behind the Green Archers who held their ground despite struggling to make their shots by forcing turnovers and ill-taken attempts by San Beda.

        The return of Teng and Mbala from a short rest on the bench paid dividends with the duo scoring a couple of shots to neutralize San Beda’s offensive spurt. The game’s turning point came when Mbala located an unchallenged Rivero who scooped an easy layup that expanded the Green Archers’ lead to eight at 60-52. Despite the Red Lions’ determination to wipe out the gap, La Salle held on to a five-point victory.

        The win fortified La Salle’s chances of retaining the PCCL crown with a 3-0 record to stay as the tournament’s only unbeaten team. They will be gunning for a whitewash on Monday, 4PM, at the New Ynares Arena in Pasig City when they square off against the FEU Tamaraws.

        For more news visit, DLSUSports.com

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          The Green Archers thrashed the CEU Pink Scorpions 79-56 to advance to the Elite 8 phase of the 2014 Philippine Collegiate Champions League in Tanauan, Batangas.

          Jeron Teng scored 14 points while Thomas Torres added 13 for the defending champions, who will head off to Cebu to start the next stage of the tournament.

          The Green Archers will be bracketed in Group A along with UAAP Season 77 champion NU, NCAA Season 90 runner-up Arellano and CESAFI runner-up University of San Carlos.

          La Salle will face the teams in the other bracket once (Group B) composed NCAA champion San Beda, CESAFI champion Southwestern University, UAAP Season 77 runner-up FEU and the University of Visayas.

          The top two teams will qualify for best-of-three championship series starting on November 27.

          Upcoming games for DLSU:

          November 13
          5:15pm vs. SWU (Cebu City Coliseum)

          November 14
          5:15pm vs. UV (Cebu City Coliseum)

          November 21
          2:00pm vs. SBC (Ynares Gym Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City)

          November 24
          2:00pm vs. FEU (Ynares Gym Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City)

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            Before the year ends, the Green Archers will be giving us glimpse of the future.

            A month after their failed title defense in the UAAP, the Green Archers start their bid for a back-to-back in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League with a 97-92 win over Jose Rizal University in Tanauan, Batangas.

            Beefed up by several players groomed to join the team in next year’s UAAP wars, La Salle weathered a late run by the Heavy Bombers to advance to the next stage of the tournament.

            The game saw the highly-anticipated La Salle debut of Cameroonian Ben Mbala, who had to do residency for two years after transferring from Southwestern University in Cebu.

            And right on the get-go, Mbala immediately gave everyone a preview of things to come as he scored 5 quick points including a two-handed follow-up dunk. He finished with 9 points and 14 boards.

            Other newcomers that were included in the tournament roster were Joshua Torralba, Daryl Pascual and Larry Muyang.

            Torralba, a Fil-Am guard who played one season of local college ball with EAC back in 2011 also top scored for the team with 9 points.

            Jeron Teng and Robert Bolick each scored 8 points for La Salle, who will be missing several key players in the tournament.

            Not included in the line-up for personal reasons are Julian Sargent, Jason Perkins and Arnold Van Opstal. Though they are listed, seniors Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres did not play due to commitments with their PBA D-League teams.

            The Green Archers will be facing CEU tomorrow in another KO match with the winner advancing to the Elite 8 phase.

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              The first thing that always catches my eye each time I step out of the elevator on the 9th floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Center and head towards the basketball court are the banners honoring all the past triumphs of the Green Archers and the individuals who have fully exemplified the traits of a Lasallian champion.

              The constant pursuit of excellence. The glory won all in the name of a proud institution. The dedication and long hours of hard work exerted for the larger prize. And the dignified grace in both triumph and defeat. Each unequalled marks of a true Lasallian.

              I find comfort in knowing that all the courage, effort and talents I was given the pleasure of witnessing on any given game day by the Season 77 De La Salle Green Archers were ceaselessly honed under those same banners. Away from the eyes of external scrutiny, nurtured by nothing more than quiet, burning commitment and solidarity.

              These banners do more than serve as hallmarks of past glory and a reminder of the pride we must all carry through any circumstance. They act as constant symbols of a standard to measure up against; a bar set by our alma mater in all disciplines through the rigors of academics, utmost tutelage and a responsibility to give back a hundredfold that which we have been privileged to receive. On a larger scale, it is a burden of the past–of more than a hundred years of storied existence–created by all the captains of industry, beacons of the arts, and pillars in the realm of athletics that came before us. A burden handed and which in turn we all gladly take on.

              Inasmuch as this ensures there is no reason to be blinded by the successes we achieve, we can also find no shame in losing to a worthy opponent and fighting the good fight. So that at the end of the day, it is this relentless pursuit along with all the hard work and dedication that truly define us and set us apart.

              While it is truly a painful time for both the Green Archers and the Lasallian faithful, more than the strong words of encouragement and comfort we find in each other, it is this drive within, that inextinguishable fire in our hearts sparked by the values espoused by our alma mater which allows us to transcend momentary adversity. Always certain that because this fire never goes out, our better days are always ahead of us. Whether in victory or defeat.

              But even before starting to look ahead or find refuge in past success, it is in the present where I can fully appreciate what has been achieved by this La Salle team. While falling short in reaching for the immediate goal set, they remain champions in our eyes. Men amongst boys, giants among men, for always placing character and values ahead of all else.

              It all begins with the management that put this team together, and has given us just the beginnings of an era of La Salle basketball which has already produced prestige to equal the amount of support the rest of us bring to every game. Support that is never without the tinge of bravery, always led by our resourceful and ever potent Animo Squad which concretized on Wednesday beyond the banging of drums it is the heart within that proves most deafening.

              More than providing resources and attending to every need, the distinguished people that make up the management are the visionary architects who first set the culture of this team of substance, and more than any of us are the first ones to voice encouragement and faith especially during moments of struggle.

              By handing the leadership role to Coach Juno Sauler, thereby setting the foundation of a true championship team driven by much more than the pursuit of tangible gains, I know this is a team I can always count on to do us all proud. His relentless pursuit of excellence, which unjustly remains media fodder for those who may not fully understand its context, has been the truest mark of an honorable Lasallian- one whose lead we all find easy to follow even through the most stringent of trials. Harmoniously melding mind and heart, labouring for the perfection of fundamentals that arm his boys for battles waged even outside the confines of the hardcourt, I cannot imagine any other person ably leading us all in our collective chase for continued glory. Even before clinching last year’s title, he already won my unconditional respect.

              A respect I also generously have for Jeron Teng, who has not only evolved into a complete player and true oncourt leader in his third year, but also imbibed the deeper team values imparted by his head coach. Brandishing the key lines from Invictus on the eve of what would be this season’s final game–the same lines wielded by Coach Sauler to motivate his boys the previous season in critical stages of the tournament–Teng’s Lasallian character is largely defined by how he complements his athletic growth with metaphysical nurturing. Definitely not just another basketball superstar settling for what is at hand, but reaching for the greater intangibles lacking in most of his type.

              With the incalculable trust given to Almond Vosotros who played valiantly all the same whether through hot streaks or shooting slumps in each of his playing years, he more than repaid his alma mater in full by having given so much of himself to this team and the community. Thus, the lasting image he leaves us will not be of him sitting on court in tears after Wednesday’s final buzzer, but of all the gutsy shots he has taken for this team with head forever unbowed. Along with the quiet leadership role he admittedly took on at the start of this season. Ensuring that the remaining players understand that honourable burden to be carried and character required before wearing a La Salle jersey.

              The silent dedication and ferocity of Norbert Torres that never waned from first year to last are traits that I also can only admire. Never allowing himself to be counted out, only defined by the hard work and quiet passion he has brought to every game; gradually taking on responsibility and accepting challenges, from his rookie year as one who preferred taking outside shots to this current season, being one of the more consistent contributors safeguarding the team’s brand of inside toughness. Lingering to take one last glance back at the stands as the rest of the team entered the dugout, I know he is one player who has relished every single moment as a Green Archer and lived up to all the larger than life challenges being a member of this team inevitably entails.

              In the same manner, I can only appreciate all the raw energy and passion displayed by Arnold Van Opstal, as he prepares to become one of the prominent leaders of this team. Also relentlessly improving his game every single year, more than his work ethic it is his unbridled energy that is integral to the character of this team. While falling short of expectations this season, he has never lost the trust of his teammates, which he extends as well. Knowing that the team always comes first, I am assured that under the close guidance of Coach Sauler his development will remain on the upswing.

              In Jason Perkins I see not only the emerging anchor of this team because of his athleticism that has necessitated frustrated opponents from last season to always try and counter with more than overly physical play, but an essential, graceful quality of leadership unbecoming of his physique. Always being the first to pick up fallen comrades and heartily encourage slumping teammates, the foundation of this team will remain secure in the same manner he claims his sweet spots on the floor against opponents who have learned they will always have their hands full in more ways than one when he is around.

              Through the steady emergence of Kib Montalbo, gradually sharpening his shot with self-trust in taking each one coupled with defensive toughness, I see traces of Thomas Torres. With the latter choosing to spend his time healing wisely by taking the former under his wing not only with pointers on how to run the offense but also the true grit needed in taking on even the most highly touted scorers on opposing teams; the very same characteristics that endeared the injured point guard to all of us in the first place.

              We all have also remained victors through Yutien Andrada’s resiliency, whose dedication in going through the many elaborate conditioning exercises under the close eye and guiding hand of Assistant Coach Marlon Celis may have largely gone unseen. How these players can continue to give it their all no matter how battered and bruised is a testament to the contributions of that man, the team’s conditioning coach.

              Andrada’s discipline shows that there are more than a few ways to act as a leader on this La Salle team. Never leaving in doubt whether he would resume his career, his comeback in itself has served as inspiration and reminder enough for any other player who may be tempted to count himself out. His legacy will be making sure that undertaking the hard work and all the grueling things behind the scenes should, and always will be, the easy choice to make.

              The heady play of Julian Sargent and Prince Rivero not only give us something to look forward to, but showed us that the future is now. Already owning permanent places in our hearts for courage that belies their combined playing experience. Along with Robert Bolick, Matt Salem, Terence Mustre and Abu Tratter, all as of yet raw talents poised to be the eventual cogs of this La Salle team, fully understanding with no reprehension that serving a greater purpose means something more than filling up the bench and acting as cheerleaders, and in fact lend invaluable strength to the team’s harmony. Because patience and acceptance of roles then don’t at all diminish from the hard work required especially during practice sessions to give the veterans a run for their money.

              Guided by Assistant Coaches Allan Caidic and Jun Limpot, both towers of the game, who provide not only indispensible lessons in honing basketball skills but precise wisdom for these young men duly aspiring for greater things, the core and heart of this team will always be secure, as it has been from day one. And with the resourceful Paolo Sauler rounding out the coaching staff by helming all the game tape preparations for thoroughly dissected plays–an integral part of Coach Juno’s system anchored on discipline and taking utmost care of all the little things including each other–focused and meticulously studied greatness will always remain at an arm’s length for whomever dons the Green and White.

              With the heartbreak and all the basketball plays we can either choose to dissect, analyze or shrug off from Wednesday’s final game, my vision extends just like my reach beyond all that is eventually rendered insubstantial and fleeting—the cheering and the jeering, the euphoria and the agony. And along with my fellow Lasallians who voluntarily labor under the burden of past greatness bestowed by our alma mater, armed with a distinct standard of excellence against which the manner we define our own character and ambitions is set, it becomes quite easy to understand one thing: all that is truly essential, really, remains invisible to the naked eye.

              This is who we are, and who we remain to be. Lasallians striving for uncanny greatness, with the dignity of whatever outcome solely reliant on the honor we manage to keep intact during the pursuit. That is the De La Salle way.

              Maybe the optimal level of desire wasn’t consistently there, the glaring truth now being it takes a different kind of hunger to retain a title. Or maybe the influx of new talent needed a little more time to be harnessed. Or maybe we all rushed to mistakenly underestimate what we though would be a relatively weaker field of competition.

              But with all the harsh, necessary lessons to be learned and taken to heart, it is the little rewards garnered along the way that prove to be the lasting achievements of this particular La Salle team and the community that stands behind it: brotherhood, hard work, courage, faith, and passion.

              If the only way to remain a lasting champion is to have ensured you fought and acted like one, even long after the final buzzer, then for every single one of us I’d say mission accomplished.

              If in my own struggles I am able to see further, if I am capable of digging deeper, and if I continue to reach beyond that of which others may only dare dream, it is largely because I stand on the shoulders of these giants among men. These champions of our institution and our collective pride.

              To the Season 77 De La Salle Green Archers, who have proven beyond doubt to be much greater than 14-strong, I proudly raise my right fist one more time.

              Animo La Salle.