UAAP Post-2000 series: De La Salle Green Archers’ Starting 5

Located at 2401 Taft Avenue, Manila, De La Salle University is home of one of the most high-profile basketball programs in the land.

The De La Salle Green Archers are winners of nine University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Men’s Basketball championships since joining the league in 1986. The decorated basketball program has also produced the finest basketball talents in the country, with a number of former Green Archers joining the Philippine Basketball Asssociation (PBA) upon completion of their collegiate eligibility.

In anticipation of UAAP Season 81, FOX Sports Philippines lists down its best De La Salle Green Archers Five from Year 2000 up to the present:

JVee Casio (PG)

Clutch situations were home for Joseph Evans Casio. Known for his timely hits in the end game, Casio’s playmaking abilities were synonymous to his outside shooting prowess.

In Game 2 of the UAAP Season 70 Finals, the 5-foot-10 playmaker nailed a shot clock, buzzer-beating jumper that would clinch the seniors title for the Green Archers against the heavily-favored UE Red Warriors. In the process, Casio would be hailed as the 2007 UAAP Finals MVP, together with Cholo Villanueva.

The diminutive Casio was named the 2003 UAAP Rookie of the Yeara and a Mythical Five member in 2007 and 2008. As a rookie, Casio would be remembered for his cold-blooded three-pointer with 25 seconds left in Game 3 of the Season 67 Finals against the FEU Tamaraws.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Cortez, TY Tang, LA Revilla, Aljun Melecio

Ren-Ren Ritualo (SG)

One of the most prolific three-point shooters in Philippine basketball is Florendo “Ren-Ren” Ritualo Jr., a four-time member of the UAAP Mythical Team. Aptly nicknamed as the “Rainman”, Ritualo would drop three-pointer after three-pointer against defenders thrown at him by opposing coaches. The 1997 Rookie of the Year was a widely-recruited gunslinger from San Beda High School due to his notoriety in nailing the long ball. With his effective shooting from beyond the arc, Ritualo contributed heavily to DLSU’s four-peat title run from 1998 to 2001. In a fitting end to his UAAP career, Ritualo would be named as the Season 64 Finals MVP after leading the Green Archers to a 2-1 series win against their bitter rivals  Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles.

Ritualo’s no. 4 jersey would be eventually retired by DLSU, joining Kurt Bachmann and Lim Eng Beng in the roll of La Sallian basketball greats.

Honorable Mentions: Joseph Yeo, Cholo Villanueva, Almond Vosotros, Andrei Caracut

Jeron Teng (SF)

Known for his tenacity and scoring ability on the court, Jeron Teng is a proud owner of two UAAP championship crowns in 2013 and 2016. The son of PBA legend Alvin Teng burst into the UAAP scene in 2012 as a bull-strong rookie, who relied on brute force and daredevil drives to score near the basket. Teng, a product of Xavier High School, would hone his perimeter game in the following years to further expand his offensive repertoire. Named as the 2012 Rookie of the Year and a four-time Mythical Team member, Teng would also embellish his two championship seasons with two Finals MVP citations.

Honorable Mentions: Mac Cardona

Jason Perkins (PF)

Manning the slot for four productive seasons is Jason Perkins, a Fil-Am recruit from Shakopee, Minnesota. Alongside Jeron Teng, the 6-foot-4 banger was a member of the Mythical Five in 2013, wherein DLSU copped the UAAP title against the UST Growling Tigers in a best-of-three Finals classic. The “Hefty Lefty” starred in an off-the-bench role in his final playing year with the Green Archers in 2016, which resulted to another championship.

Honorable Mentions: Willy Wilson, Rico Maierhofer

Ben Mbala (C)

The “Kid from Cameroon” literally and figuratively lifted the Taft-based squad to two Finals appearances and to the Season 79 championship. Mbala was recruited out of Cebu’s Southwestern University in 2012 to shore up the DLSU frontline, which badly needed a legitimate inside presence.

While other UAAP schools were beefing up their frontcourt with foreign reinforcement, La Salle took in Mbala, who stood at the forefront for two seasons for the green and white. Losing just once in his first playing year in 2016, the Green Archers would claim their ninth UAAP championship with the 6-foot-8 Mbala dominating the paint on both ends of the floor. His second and final playing year, though, would end in heartbreak as the Green Archers’ title defense was derailed by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in an epic best-of-three Finals showdown. Still, Mbala bowed out of the UAAP as one of the most dominant foreign student-athletes with two MVP awards and two Mythical Team citations.

Honorable Mention: Arnold Van Opstal, Norbert Torres

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