By Gio Gloria
It’s the end of a decade! From Season 73 to Season 82, a lot of players have come and gone from the UAAP, players that dominated the court, changed the landscape of the league, fired up their teams or simply captured the hearts of fans. In this All-Decade Team series, we at HumbleBola highlight the athletes and coaches who have defined the 2010’s of UAAP basketball for their respective schools.
The De La Salle Green Archers All Decade Team
C: Ben Mbala
In his short UAAP career, Ben Mbala has produced arguably two of the most dominant individual seasons in the league. The two-time MVP was an unstoppable force in the paint and it took a concerted effort from the Ateneo Blue Eagles to contain the former Basketball Without Borders African MVP to limit him and the Green Archers in Season 80.
Student athletes (regardless if they are Filipino or not) come and go, but Mbala changed the way many of the UAAP schools recruited. He paved the way for the likes of Soulemane Chabi Yo and Angelo Kouame, both of whom can play efficiently beyond the paint. It can be said that the Cameroonian’s career was “bitin” for various reasons, but in that span of time, he has contributed and done more than what some players have in five years.
F: Jason Perkins
Jason Perkins nearly averaged a double-double in his first season with DLSU, earning Mythical Five honors as well. He would go on to average 10.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in his second year in the UAAP, one that was cut short by a Mac Belo dagger right in front of him.
His scoring numbers may have declined the next two seasons, but the Hefty Lefty remained a reliable presence in the low block, snagging rebounds with smarts, energy, and hustle even against more athletic opponents.
F: Justine Baltazar
Justine Baltazar’s evolution from Mbala’s backup to offensive force has resulted in one UAAP title and two Mythical Five awards. That alone secures his slot in the Green Archers’ all-decade team, but he has also shown the UAAP how he is capable of being a first, yet willing to be a last option when needed.
His continuous development, punctuated by his 25-point and 25-rebound effort against the NU Bulldogs was a testament to the work he put on a daily basis and the chance of matching up against the likes Mbala, Perkins, Abu Tratter, and Brandon Bates in practice.
G: Jeron Teng
Jeron Teng arrived in La Salle in 2012 and was immediately crowned by some as the next King Archer, something that came with scoring a record 104 points back in high school. After a solid freshman campaign that saw him earn Rookie-of-the-Year and Mythical Five honors, Teng led the Green Archers to a championship in Season 76, earning Finals MVP honors after outlasting brother Jeric and the UST Growling Tigers in three thrilling games.
Having been a member of the Mythical Five in four of his five playing years, Teng capped off his stellar career with another title in 2016, serving as the perimeter partner for Mbala. Their inside-outside game proved unstoppable in Season 79, resulting in a sweep of archrivals Ateneo in the Finals.
G: LA Revilla
Although he sat out two years due to Type 2 Diabetes, LA Revilla was one of DLSU’s steadiest contributors. Having led the league in steals during Season 74, the Bacolod native provided the scoring and stability during the so-called “dark ages” of La Salle.
Apart from Teng, Almond Vosotros, and the emergence of La Salle’s big men, Revilla was responsible for orchestrating the uber-loaded 2013 Green Archers. The DLSU offense in Season 76 ran through their big men and the veteran ensured that the ball went to the best matchup possible. Had he played out his final year in 2014, La Salle could have repeated as champs.
Sixth Man: Almond Vosotros/Aljun Melecio
The value of a sixth man lies in how they can prove that strength lies in numbers. Aljun Melecio and Almond Vosotros have taken on a number of roles during their stints with the Green Archers and they have showed that they can thrive in the most pressure-packed situations.
Coming out of high school, Melecio was known as a high volume scorer capable of knocking down big shots in crunchtime. Having to play behind the likes of Mbala and Teng, the DLSZ alumnus thrived in being the third option when all the attention was on the veterans.
The starting lineup lacked shooting and Vosotros served as one of the La Salle’s primary shooters. In fact, he hit the go-ahead basket that sealed the Green Archers’ 2013 title and sealed Aljon Mariano’s fate as a King Archer. Having played with the likes of Perkins and Teng shows he can maximize those moments when the defense either sags on his teammates or become lax on a defensive assignment.
Coach: Aldin Ayo/Juno Sauler
Following the same spirit as that of the Letran coaching committee, it seemed best to put Aldin Ayo and Juno Sauler together. Both are responsible for DLSU’s championships this decade and it’s no coincidence that they’ve had the longest stints as coaches in Green Archers during that same span of time.