If there’s one thing that could best describe the Green Archers’ journey in the 2000s, you could say that it’s been a helluva roller coaster ride. Throughout the past 9 years, the team experienced its fair share of glorious victories and equally agonizing defeats. Despite all the controversies, setbacks and challenges, the Archers played their hearts out every game and gave all of us something to cheer about.
As this decade comes to a close next year, and we look forward to more exciting seasons ahead, let us all take a brief review of the team’s past seasons in the new millennium.
Just as everyone had gotten over the Y2K scare, the Archers were faced with the tough task of achieving a rare three-peat crown, something that was denied to them in the UAAP boardroom back in 1991. The team in fact was not heavily favored to win with the departure of key figures from the previous title squad. All eyes were on the re-emerging Blue Eagles as well as intact teams like FEU, UST and UE.
Defying all pre-season expectations, the Archers soundly thrashed Ateneo during opening day, swept the entire first round and went on to lose only 2 games all season. Not even the brief sidelining of Ren Ren Ritualo due to injury midway in the tournament could stop the green juggernaut.
Thanks to the steady leadership of the veterans such as captain Mon Jose, Alvin Castro and Mac Cuan, along with the exploits of an electrifying rookie named Mike Cortez, the Archers easily dismantled the opposition on the way to their 7th straight championship appearance.
When Ritualo returned from his injury, the Archers could not to be denied this time around.
Up against FEU, the same team that denied them that first grand slam in 1991, the Archers were hell bent on vengeance. Perhaps it was poetic justice – they achieved the three-peat by sweeping the Tams to run away with their third consecutive crown.
The title was the result of a total team effort – something that characterized and defined the team in the seasons to follow.
Ren Ren Ritualo
Vincent San Diego
Adonis Sta Maria