DE La Salle officials believe the first-ever general championship won by the school in the just concluded Season 75 of the UAAP has eased the stigma of the one-year suspension the school incurred seven years ago.
Br. Bernie Oca, FSC, La Salle vice chancellor for Lasallian Mission and Alumni Relations, said it was an "uphill climb" for the school to attain a very first general championship since joining the UAAP in 1986.
“A resounding yes,” said Oca in a press conference right after the UAAP closing ceremonies on Saturday night at the Marina Restaurant in SM North Edsa.
“’Yun ang magandang nangyari sa suspension, that’s vindication,” Oca said, referring to the general championship.
La Salle found itself embroiled in a controversy in 2005 when one of the players of the men’s basketball team was found ineligible to play due to academic issues.
In its aftermath, the Green Archers were stripped of their men’s basketball crown in 2004, and then were slapped with a one-season suspension by the UAAP in 2006.
Oca, a former La Salle athletic director, admitted it was not just basketball that had been affected by the league’s decision.
“That was just basketball but it affected the recruitment of all sports. It was an uphill climb to rebuild, and it was the whole effort of the community to overcome,” Oca said.
But shortly upon its return in 2007, La Salle lost no time getting back to its winning ways.
Only last season, the Archers bared their fangs by capturing four titles during, ruling the women’s table tennis, taekwondo, chess tournaments. They were also a consistent top three finisher in other events.
But the school capped the best season in its UAAP history by tabbing the women’s volleyball crown for the third straight year with a resounding sweep of rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles in their best-of-three title series.
La Salle ended up with 293 points by the end of the campaign and ended the long 14-year reign of University of Santo Tomas as general champions. The Green Archers finished 16 points ahead of the Tigers.
Fifteen points are given to a champion team, while the second and third placers are awarded with 12 and 10 points respectively. Eight, six, four, two, and one point are given to the next placers.
Edwin Reyes, La Salle’s representative to the UAAP board, said the school's rise to the general championship was five years in the making.
“This whole thing was a five-year work-in-progress,” said Reyes. “We asked the community to work towards one goal of winning the general championship.”
La Salle officials begged off from assessing their team and its campaign next season.
“Right now, we just want to relish the title,” Oca said.