A couple of days ago, the DLSU Green Archers and the FEU Tamaraws figured in a brawl.
The 2017 Kadayawan Tournament was supposed to be a sporting endeavour meant to provide happiness…
…and I know for a fact Filipino fans enjoy basket-brawls!
So DLSU made their UAAP debut in 1986. Despite being the league’s youngest member, the Green Archers have more senior championships than the NU Bulldogs (started their UAAP campaign in 1938), the UP Fighting Maroons (started in 1938 as well), and the Adamson Soaring Falcons (admitted in 1952 but left two years later only to get re-admitted in 1970) with nine titles. And since the inception of the Final Four format, the Taft-based ballers lead the league in titles with seven. Ateneo is number two with six, UST and FEU have five titles each, and NU is the only other college to clinch a Final Four crown.
With the exception of NU, the squads mentioned have had some sort of beef with the Green Archers. The Ateneo-DLSU rivalry has been well-documented. The DLSU-UST rivalry is also well-documented although it reached its peak during the 90s.
DLSU versus FEU though is a thing of beauty.
That 1991 Championship
I don’t get why Tonyboy Espinosa didn’t leave the court when he fouled out. Maybe the stadium was too loud and he was not aware of his status? But then I don’t get why DLSU would just give up the title to the Tamaraws even if they deserved it more. I get the thing about pride and all that righteousness bit but Jun Limpot and company worked their asses off for that title. Why let ten seconds destroy a successful season? If I were a FEU official and I could win via a re-play, I would take that chance because I really want the title. They did… and this wouldn’t be the last time the Green Archers gave the Tamaraws a freebie title. In some ways, the title increased the confidence levels of Vic Pablo and Johnny Abarrientos because after the 1991 season, FEU blanked DLSU in the semifinal round of the 1992 UAAP season to eventually win the UAAP crown against the Adamson Falcons. Just imagine of Limpot had that title when he took his talents to the PBA? Do you think it would take more than a decade for The Main Man to win his first PBA crown?
So DLSU unknowingly fielded two players from 2003 to 2005. For a prestigious school, the mistake they unearthed is so unbecoming in so many levels. Because of this, they gave FEU a title and had to take a leave of absence for one season. Why did it take three years to unravel this travesty? Moreover, who in the blue hell are these players? La Salle took a bullet for a one-dimensional big man and a seldom-used player. Maybe I’m too harsh with regards to Mark Lester Benitez and Tim Gatchalian but it’s not like they are Mark Cardona, Joseph Yeo, TY Tang, JV Casio, and Rico Maierhofer? I guess Benitez could be a big time player since he did made the PBA… but what about Gatchalian? Just imagine if the 1992 USA Dream Team had to give up their gold medals because Christian Laettner is dimmed ineligible for USA international play!?!
As far as “team officials with anger issues” are concerned, no one plays the part better than former DLSU assistant team manager Manny Salgado. In 2003, Salgado was involved in a scuffle that resulted to the suspensions of DLSU’s Ryan Arana and Ateneo’s LA Tenorio. Two years later, he played the part of pacifier between Arwind Santos and Joseph Yeo but it felt like he was better off doing karate chops at the back of people’s heads. Aside from the fact that Salgado has no business doing what he did, DLSU condoned his actions and agreed with the UAAP board when they gave the fiery assistant coach a lifetime ban.
Long before Terrence Romeo gained the respect of many as Gilas Pilipinas’ famed assassin, he was seen by many as that dude who became the reason as to why Vice Ganda watched the FEU games live. No, I am not insinuating anything although you browse about it online. It’s just that FEU’s one-two punch of Romeo and RR Garcia are bringing asses to seats, to say the least. Anyway, talk about a dirty move, Romeo went to Jeron Teng who was about to take a free throw and rubbed his saliva on him. It’s bad enough that players had to mix body fluids with one another but for one player to forcibly give it to one player? Ewww! Romeo tried to shrug the incident but the videos would reveal otherwise. DLSU got their vindication as Jeron Teng would end the Tams’ season in the semifinal round and the Green Archers would eventually win the title against the UST Growling Tigers.
Battle of the Elites
More than the forfeitures, scuffles, lifetime bans, and usage of saliva, the DLSU Green Archers and the FEU Tamaraws battle is all about two perennial contenders who just want to one-up each other. Since serving their suspension, the Tamaraws and the Green Archers have pingponged wins over the other for a decade now. In 29 battles, the ballers from Morayta gets the edge over the dribblers from Taft in the narrowest of margins, 15 to 14. However in nine do-or-die or Final Four matches, the Green Archers claim 67 percent of the victories, six to three. Just imagine if the Tamaraws didn’t win four games to one against the Green Archers during the 2014-15 UAAP season, the lead could have been even greater. And mind you, the FEU core of that season had the likes of Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Mac Belo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Mike Tolomia, RR Pogoy, and Gilas cadet Russel Escoto… and this team would eventually lose to Troy Rosario, Alfred Aroga, Gelo Alolino, and the rest of the NU Bulldogs because it felt as if they were spent after their battle with the Green Archers.
This great video came from Kristoffer Co’s Youtube account.
The Kadayawan Tournament encounter furthers the battle between these two squads. Ateneo versus La Salle as well as its NCAA counterparts Mapua versus Letran are rivalries that were created using the combo of on-court and off-court antics. I don’t know if my UST Growling Tigers will play spoiler in their finals encounter (I’m guessing Ateneo would take the spotlight away these two) but it would be fun to see Ron Dennison and Ricci Rivero going at it when pride and prestige is on the line.
And believe me, if you saw the clip between these two contenders, whether you’re affiliated with the squads, you’re going to see the action when it hits come September 10.