Champs at Last ! DLSZ Juniors Archers 2005

The wait is finally over. It took 50 years for La Salle to win a juniors basketball championship in either the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). And that long drought ended when De La Salle - Zobel demolished the University of the Philippines (UPIS), 86-62, to sweep the best-of-three finals for this year’s UAAP crown at the Araneta Coliseum.

Words by Anthony Suntay
Photos by Vic Icasas

This article is brought to you by Cherifer!

Kurt Bachmann Jr. led De La Salle College – (High School Department at Taft) to the NCAA Juniors crown in 1955. That was incidentally the year he won the MVP title and became the first player in the juniors division in the NCAA over 200 points in a season. The team also had Alvin Schlobohm, Nicasio Veloso, Manuel Villava, Honorato Cruz, Dominador Sevillano, Ramoncito Fernandez, Carlos Catal, Emilio Gonzales, Juan Miguel Llamas, Henry Zabarte, and Jess Santamaria. Rogelio La’O was their coach.

This year’s historic DLSZ UAAP Juniors squad was mentored by Coach Boris Aldeguer. His stalwarts were star center David Joshua Webb (grandson of basketball great and Senator Freddie Webb), point guard Simon Atkins, David Urra, Martin Reyes, Miguel de Asis, Team Captain Dan Salvador, Joshua Teodosio, Melvin Sun, Manoj Chandumal,  Mike Fernandez, Lorenz Tumlos, Gio Espina, Colin Buckley and Aldo Malixi.

Zobel finished the double-round eliminations behind Ateneo’s league-leading 12-2 record, with an 11-3 card. They lost to UP by one, to Far Eastern University (FEU) by 10, and to Ateneo by 2. They entered the Final Four round with a twice-to-beat advantage. Zobel beat FEU to quickly advance to the finals while UPIS upended the Eaglets two times. 

“We will make our fellow Lasallians and our parents proud, win or lose,” Aldeguer said before the start of the finals. “Duplicating the achievements of the great Kurt Bachman and the team of 1955 is a wonderful goal for us,” he added.

The Zobel squad moved within a win of their first UAAP junior basketball title after a near-perfect Game 1 that ended 73-49 in the championship series. Webb delivered 19 points and nine rebounds to lead a dominant performance by the first five.

“We’re happy but it’s not yet complete,” said Aldeguer immediately after the win. “We’re not going to relax until the last buzzer has sounded and we’re declared as winners.

Zobel charge to a 19-7 start behind Webb and Atkins. So overpowering was their performance that the Alabang-based squad led by as many as 27 points, 73-46, in the homestretch.

Reyes scored 10 of his 13 points in the final period. Salvador had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Atkins finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

But the best was yet to come in Game 2. Zobel crushed UP 86-62 in the second game to sweep the best-of-three finals and seal their date with history and cap their dream season. Webb compiled 19 points and 12 rebounds. Urra backstopped him with 18 points and 14 boards. Reyes netted 13 points. Atkins almost had a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds, and 11 assists.

“They worked hard for it,” Aldeguer exclaimed. “We emphasized defense- that’s where everything starts. On offense, we like to run. We play a controlled and organized fastbreak. If the fastbreak didn’t work, we adjust to playing our patterns. We don’t force things. We develop our game plan based on what the players can do, not the other way around.

“The biggest challenge was motivating a team made up of players from well-to-do families. I just kept reminding them that hard work pays off and that if they don’t give 100 percent on the court, they won’t go anywhere.”

A week after winning the title, I sat down with Aldeguer and he had this to add. “It was a good sign that we won the MMBI. Championship but it wasn’t a guarantee for the UAAP title. We had to initially get over the hump of the Final Four; our biggest challenge was getting to the finals, really. We wanted all along to be in the top two positions for the twice-to-beat advantage. We practiced for everything UP could actually come up with that’s why I was very confident we would win in the finals.”

On a footnote, eight players are graduating this year – Atkins, Urra, Reyes, de Asis, Salvador, Teodosio, Sun, and Chandumal. So the 2006 team will center around the talents of the 6-foot-2 Webb, Fernandez, and Malixi together with the standouts from the aspirants’ pool.

But at the moment, the Lasallian community, especially those from Zobel, will savor this victory and look forward to building on their winning tradition. 

Complete Roster 2005 Team

Dan Salvador IV
Team Captain
Starting Power-Forward
4th year
“It’s an honor to be the captain of this Champion team. Entering this season we knew this was going to be it.”

Simon Atkins
Starting Point Guard
4th year
“One month after last season we started preparing for this one.”

David Urra
Starting Off-Guard
4th year
“We worked hard all year, we prepared even for the weaker teams. We never let up.”

Martin Reyes
Starting Small Forward
4th Year
“The core of the team has been together for three years; we trusted each other.”

Joshua David Webb
Starting Center
2nd Year
“Following batches will use this team as inspiration for future achievements.”

Miguel Antonio De Asis
4th Year
“We had a complete team and had the proper training. The championship was ours for the taking.”

Melvin Sun
Point Guard
4th Year
“I’ve tried to always set a good example, help out the rookies and give them confidence.”

Manoj Chamdumal
4th Year
“We were always ready for whatever situation. We had eight veterans, so we were very confident.”

Joshua Teodosio
4th Year
“I made sure we didn’t miss anything, even in practice. We always pushed each other.”

Colin Nathan Buckley
Power Forward/Center
2nd Year
6 feet
“Immediately after the buzzer sounded, it sank in that we were champions. All the talk of us possibly being the champions was over.”

Gio Espina
Small Forward/ Power Forward
3rd Year
6 feet
“We had good players, talented seniors. And cerebral coaches. We always practiced hard.”

Leo Lorenz Tumlos
Point Guard
3rd Year
“It was my rookie year… I just played my role and got my teammates involved.”

Aldo Malixi
Power Forward
3rd Year
“We had the desire to win the championship.”

Michael Fernandez
3rd Year
“We had the extra confidence after the MMBL win. I always gave my 100%.”

Coach Boris Aldeguer
“We were hungrier…We were prepared for every eventuality… I always listened to my assistant coaches, and tried to incorporate their suggestions.”

Assistant Coach Magsy Magsumbol
“This is my first championship not as a player… It is more fulfilling because I was able to impart my knowledge to the young players.”

This article was originally published in Vol 3 No. 8 of AnimoMagazine.



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