DE LA SALLE University feted its championship teams from the past, led by the four-peat squad in the late 90s and early 2000s, with a ring ceremony night at the school campus in Manila in time for the current Green Archers’ title bid in the UAAP Season 86 finals.

Players and coaches of the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 as well as the 2016 champion teams received their much-awaited rings in the ‘Animo Champions’ event made possible by San Juan city mayor and proud school alumnus Francis Zamora.

Mr. Zamora, the team captain of the 1998 and 1999 Green Archers, led the ceremony with long-time team manager Terry Capistrano as De La Salle also marked the silver anniversary of the historic squad that started it all.

Joining forces with two-time UAAP MVP and Finals MVP Don Allado in De La Salle’s frontcourt, Mr. Zamora captained the Green Archers to a coveted title in 1998 after four straight runner-up finishes (thrice against University of Santo Tomas and once against Far Eastern University) in 1994-1997 with a 2-0 sweep of FEU.

That championship happened to ignite the Taft dynasty at the turn of a century en route to four straight titles until 2001 all under coach Franz Pumaren.

Mr. Pumaren, as well as 2016 De La Salle coach Aldin Ayo, were also recognized with championship rings of their own.

Leading the cast of champion Green Archers were other Finals MVPs Renren Ritualo and Jeron Teng with Mon Jose, Dominic Uy and Mr. Allado helping Mr. Zamora in organizing the historic event.

Mr. Ritualo and Willie Wilson were the only players to complete the four-peat with four rings on their fingers as majority of the championship teams graced the historic night.

Now as they celebrated their past glory, all the previous Green Archers vowed to rally behind the crew of coach Topex Robinson as they battle the UP Fighting Maroons in Game 1 of the UAAP finals today. 

“Thre are two objectives in this. No. 1 is give recognition to the players who have sacrificed and persevered to bring honor and glory to De La Salle by way of winning championships and second is to inspire the currrent basketball team to push themselves very hard to win the championship,” said Mr. Zamora. — John Bryan Ulanday