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UAAP Season 82 is right around the corner and we’re counting down the days until the opening! For this series, The Ampersand looks back on favorite UAAP moments. 

La Salle Championship (2007) 

Jazper, College of Engineering  

My favorite DLSU moment was the 2007 championship against the UE Red Warriors. This was the comeback of DLSU after being punished due to ineligible players. 2006 was a dark year for sports in DLSU, and for a self-proclaimed basketball junkie it was really a bad year for me and my alma mater. We lost a ton of potential recruits save for Simon (Chucky!) Atkins and honestly, it was an embarrassing time for DLSU and its students. 2006 was also a very tough time in my life. Whether it was academic problems or personal heartbreak, I thought I wouldn’t be able to survive the year. For me and the Archers, it was like entering the darkest timeline. Somehow and someway, things slowly got better. I survived 2006 and 2007 gave me another chance to redeem myself. 

During the whole season 70, the team was jeered for being suspended the previous year. I remember seeing a large tarpaulin with the word “SUSPENDED” waved at the La Salle crowd during games. Things didn’t always go as planned during this season. I was watching from the nosebleed section in Araneta when we had a chance to beat the undefeated UE Red Warriors with two free throws from JV Casio, but somehow he missed one and that forced an OT and we went on to lose the game. (Me and my unflattering win-loss record when watching in an arena.) DLSU also lost twice to ADMU during the elimination round but won the tie-breaker game for a twice-to-beat advantage. During Game 1 of the semifinals, Chris Efffin Tiu got a game winner. I was also watching in Araneta back then. If I remember it correctly,  it was a corner 3, but we won Game 2 and thus, the “two is greater than three” quote from Coach Franz Pumaren was born. 

The Ampersand Note: La Salle won Game 2 in the semifinals versus the Blue Eagles in the jampacked Araneta Coliseum. After the game, Coach Franz Pumaren famously announced, “This is the only time two is greater than three.” 

In the finals, the Red Warriors were the heavy favorites after they swept the rest of the league. They also had 20 days of rest before the Finals. La Salle won the first game by a single digit, 64-63 behind TY Tang’s 17-point performance. They won Game 2 for the championship in a more convincing fashion, 73-64. JVee Casio and Cholo Villanueva were named co-MVPs of the Finals.

I always got by just by doing the minimum amount of work, but not this time. I always thought Engineering was hard but I didn’t think it was THIS hard. I studied harder than ever before and I tried to move on (not successfully but convinced myself enough was enough). And much like that championship-clinching Game 2 victory against a 14-0 juggernaut, where inexplicably, it was like all second chances fell onto Kish Co’s hands for an offensive rebound, I also got a second opportunity. I got back on my feet again. Self, redeemed. 2007 UAAP Champions. Redemption amidst chaos. 

Expectation in Season 82: Nothing short of a championship. But seriously, with a ton of roster turnover, it would be quite a challenge to gel together as a cohesive unit from the get go. I can see the team take the 3rd or 4th seed with a chance to pull an upset, but then ultimately lose to ADMU in the finals. It’s really hard to beat continuity and talent which ADMU has in spades.

La Salle Championship (2013) 

Jonas, College of Business and Economics 

My favorite La Salle moment is when they defeated UST to take the championship in 2013. We were on the brink of defeat but we got lucky because of Aljon Mariano’s turnover in OT. It was a super emotional win. Naluha pa ako dahil naawa ako kay Jeric Teng. Sobrang saya kasi sulit yung pagpila. Good karma din siguro pa kasi binigyan ko ng ticket yung friend kong taga-USTE.

The Ampersand Note: Up to this day, a handful of fans still blame Mariano for UST’s championship loss against La Salle. There were even some allegations that Mariano “sold” the game as he missed a shot with 6.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter and committed a turnover with 30 seconds on the clock in overtime.

A couple of other favorites are old school UAAP moments. One is the four-point play by Dino Aldeguer against UST in 1999. 

Another is the 2001 championship game against Ateneo. Tambak nung halftime pero nanalo pa.

The Ampersand Note: For the first time in 13 years, Ateneo and La Salle were finally facing each other in the Finals. In Game 3, then rookie LA Tenorio had 30 points but it was not enough as Carlo Sharma scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. La Salle legend Renren Ritualo capped off his UAAP career with a four-peat.

Expectations in Season 82: A lot of heartbreaking games. I expect the team to compete, but they will come up short. If they make it to the Final Four, it would already be like a championship for me. 

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