It’s been a long time coming. Five years and four coaches later to be exact. By all means, this year was definitely not a cakewalk for the Green Archers. Ended the first round with a 3-4 record, I think almost nobody believed they could make it into the final four let alone the finals. But the great thing about this team is their heart, it’s always been the key driver, every single year I watch them play.
I’ve been a diehard fan since my freshman year in college and I’ve tried to watch as many games as I can even on TV (my first live game was actually just this year, versus Ateneo) and every year I’d see players pour their hearts out on the court and just bring the passion and love for their alma mater. I was there to witness the game winning shot by Jvee Casio in 2004 against FEU and even if it was just via a big screen set up at school, it was such a glorious feeling. In 2007, we barged back into the UAAP finals to beat heavily favored UE (with a 14-0 record no less). I started my education in La Salle a champion (no matter what happened, I still truly believe this) and ended it a champion so as you might expect, I’ve been (and probably the whole community too) waiting for this for the past five years. The wait was well worth it though. It was a long climb, a hard battle but in the end, we emerged stronger and better.
You have to give credit where credit is due though. UST is an amazing team and they played like beasts the entire season. This is probably the most unlikely finals match up out of the final four but they made it and they did not take it lightly. Jeric Teng, hats off to you, man! You are a fighter. It could have gone either way and had UST won, there’s no doubt you’d be MVP.
To the assistant coaches and Coach Juno, the adjustment king. Honestly, coaches don’t always have to be loud and boisterous or prowl the sidelines for 40 minutes, screaming. Coach Juno just proves this. Keep calm, play it cool, adjust when necessary, improve on a daily basis. You can pretty much see he’s already strategizing for next year.
To the 13 man team (the shortest roster I believe), each one of you anchored this team to where it’s at right now. There’s no king or star, it’s a team, it’s always supposed to be a team. AVO, your game has seriously improved this year. Proof that hardwork and dedication does pay off and that (I strongly believe this) finding homegrown talents and raising them and coaching them pays off. Jeron, no matter what the they say, no, you did not choke when it counted. Versus Ateneo, FEU, today and every game this season. There’s a big, bright future for your remaining years in La Salle. LA, I’ve watched you grow as a point guard since 2008 when I felt you would be an amazing player in time and I was right. I hope you’ll still be able to play one more year for us. Coach said only 13 players deserved to be on the team and today, each one of you validated this.
I’ve been a keeper of the faith and I will continue to do so come hell or high water. Win or lose, I will always be proud of my alma mater and how it shaped me in so many ways.
Ang sarap maging Lasallista. Especially today. Animo!