DLSU Captain Gio Diamante, Matthew Nierras, and Nathan Alquiros have already played their final UAAP game in the 3-2 extra time loss to FEU last Sunday. It was a bitter way to end of what looked to be a fine season, underlined by a 15-game unbeaten run. Unfortunate not to win in what was the biggest game of their UAAP careers, La Salle’s departing players remain proud of what the team has accomplished.
“We took it to FEU. Normally, teams back off against FEU. We showed them that there’s another team in this tournament that will match up to them,” said Nierras, who skippered DLSU at the latter stages of the final. “We might have lost, but I know each one of us gave everything we’ve got. None of us wanted to lose that game, but the better team won, and we accept the defeat,” added Nathan Alquiros, who was also crowned the league’s top midfielder in his last season playing for La Salle.
It took a Paolo Bugas’ deflected strike in extra time to outdo the Green Archers, who even led twice only for the champions to level before normal time ended. Gio Diamante scored his second goal of the season to open the scoring in the 59th minute, and gave the gang green a reason to celebrate. “It was an incredible feeling. I promised myself that I would give everything that I’ve got and after I scored, I felt like I succeeded in my promise. However, losing the game made me feel like I let everyone down,” said the captain, who dedicated his last game for the entire team and the Lasallian community. Just like in the semis, he was replaced by his brother Gelo in the second half. Nevertheless, Gio is honored to have served as the team’s captain in his last season. “I am very proud of my teammates, and the team as a whole to become such a very strong team, who never gives up in any situation.”
It was a magnificent season indeed for the Green Archers who silently worked their way to the top. Not losing one game prior to last Sunday, La Salle gradually grabbed attention towards the closing stages and their chances of winning the championship was boosted by a huge 3-0 win over UP in the penultimate game of the elimination round. “We just fought ‘till the end. We took it day per day, game per game. We made things happen,” said Alquiros.
Moving forward, the seniors are hoping to see a hungrier, better-equipped La Salle team to emerge winners in Season 78. “I just hope that they continue what we’ve been trying to. We always try to motivate them, inspire them, to push them better because we know they think they’re good. I’ll assure you that La Salle, from today through the next years, they will be contenders every single year. You cannot rule them out,” Nierras reckons.
Time may have run out for them in the UAAP, but we have not seen the last of them on the pitch. Cousins Nierras and Alquiros are poised to join Stallion FC in the bid of winning back the United Football League title they previously won in 2013. As for Gio, he will suit up for Green Archers United together with collegiate teammates Gelo Diamante, Gregory Yang, and Gerald Layumas.