During last Saturday’s game, the animosity boiled over once again as LaSalle catapulted itself to a 66-63 victory over Ateneo in the league’s first round header.
Another electrifying game is set to take place in the second round, and perhaps more in this year’s final four. Together, these teams are the UAAP’s biggest draws, both in ticket sales and media exposure.
Clearly, there’s no love lost between the two schools. But what exactly drive Ateneo de Manila University and De La Salle University to predominantly root against each other?
Two words: sports rivalry. Inter-collegiate competitions aside, it’s not like the blue and the green are good friends outside the arena anyway.
Their basketball squads, however, initiate the war that fuels the fire. It’s what turns the dislike into sheer, cold-blooded animosity.
RIVALRY ON THE RECORD BOOKS
This desire to stick it to the other team has time and again brought the best out of both squads’ players. Since 1986, Ateneo leads the rivalry in terms of games won, 36-27.
But LaSalle could have easily bragged a 34-29 record against Ateneo, albeit a controversy that prompted UAAP officials to forfeit their victories over the Blue Eagles from 2003 to 2005.
The verdict: several Green Archers were discovered to be ineligible to play college basketball, only playing in the league courtesy of falsified documents.
LaSalle not only lost victories over the Blue Eagles, but their 2004 UAAP championship title as well. The green creatures however, lead the blue ones in UAAP championships won, 7-5.
Ateneo and La Salle are each other’s steroids – they make each other jump a little higher, run a little faster and hit a lot harder.
Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Ateneo Blue Eagles – During the UAAP 2008 Game 1 Finals against LaSalle, Al-Hussaini savaged a struggling Ateneo squad by scoring 31 points, which ultimately led to a 69-61 victory. His post moves and effective jumpers during the game proved to be too much for the Archers.
Ren-Ren Ritualo, LaSalle Green Archers – On a UAAP 2001 Game 1 Finals against LaSalle, the Eagles made a last minute run that was cut short by Ritualo’s killer jump shot. Ren-Ren rallied for a last minute jumper with 40 seconds left in the game to seal the deal for the Archers, 74-68.
Larry Fonacier, Ateneo Blue Eagles – The 2002 UAAP Game 1 Finals against LaSalle saw Mac Cardona dominate the game, but it was Larry Fonacier who made history by blocking two of Cardona’s game-tying shots in the final seconds of the ballgame. Ateneo barely won Game 1, 72-70.
Carlo Sharma, LaSalle Green Archers – Relatively unknown but a true LaSalle hero, Carlo Sharma helped LaSalle win Game 3 of the 2001 UAAP Finals by limiting Ateneo’s Enrico Villanueva to a mere 5 points and scoring 22 points of his own. LaSalle won the series and the game, 93-88.
The 2007 UAAP Season – Ateneo and LaSalle treated fans to a dream season as they faced each other 5 times during the 2007 UAAP season. Ateneo won the season series 3-2, but LaSalle won the important games, eliminating Ateneo in the semi-finals despite losing twice in the elimination rounds.
WORDS BY PAOLO AGULTO
PHOTOS BY LESLIE SY