December 01, 2023

School Spirit: La Salle starting five among active players in PBA

School Spirit: La Salle starting five among active players in PBA
Art by Royce Nicdao

Right, there are 16 active PBA players who once proudly wore the De La Salle Green Archers jersey in college. Most of them play key roles for their respective teams. But while they won championships in college, not a lot have experienced the glory of a PBA conquest.

But they are great players, nonetheless. And it’s only probably a matter of time before they get a chip, especially if you bring them together to play for one team.

In another series of fun “what ifs,” One Sports has featured lineups from the UST Growling Tigers, Ateneo Blue Eagles, FEU Tamaraws, NU Bulldogs, and Adamson Falcons.

Here are the five from the Green Archers:

Jvee Casio (Season 66 to Season 71)

He may be the oldest in the group, but Casio is definitely one of the most decorated. The two-time UAAP Mythical Team member earned the reputation of being a clutch player for the Green Archers, eventually helping the team win the 2007 championship against the erstwhile undefeated UE Red Warriors. He was hailed co-Finals MVP with teammate Cholo Villanueva.

Before turning pro, Casio spent time with Gilas Pilipinas under coach Rajko Toroman. When he decided to apply for the PBA Draft, the Powerade Tigers wasted no time in picking the former UAAP Rookie of the Year with the first overall pick in 2011.

He made his mark even more when he was traded to the Alaska Aces to fill the void left by LA Tenorio. Casio was instrumental in the Aces’ 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title, averaging 18 points.

Jeron Teng (Season 75 to Season 79)

Teng has always been a winner. It all started in high school when he led Xavier a couple of championships. Remember his 104 points in a 164-74 win over Grace Christian College?

The scoring machine brought that mojo in college, where the 2012 UAAP Rookie of the Year captured two championships for the Green Archers, one against his older brother Jeric, who was then playing for UST. The younger Teng also won the Finals MVP both times.

A championship in the PBA has eluded him though. But now that the fifth overall pick of the 2017 Draft is playing for perennial contender San Miguel Beermen, his chances just got significantly higher.

ALSO READ: June Mar Fajardo, Cjay Perez, Jeron Teng get victimized by teammate's funny kissing spree

Jamie Malonzo (Season 82)

Malonzo’s arrival in Taft raised fans’ hopes that La Salle will return to the finals in 2019. That year, he normed 15.8 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals to earn a spot in the Mythical Team.

Unfortunately, La Salle failed to make the Final Four in Malonzo's one-and-done UAAP season.

His time with the Green Archers may be brief, but it was enough to convince the NorthPort Batang Pier to pick him as the second overall pick in the 2020 PBA Draft. Malonzo’s career took off when he was traded to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in 2022 and helped the team edge a stacked Bay Area Dragons in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals.

Jason Perkins (Season 76 to Season Season 79)

Perkins is an undersized power forward who has the strength to crash the boards against bigger opponents. But he also has the range to space the floor for his team.

The 6-foot-4 forward made an impact right away when he joined the Green Archers in 2013, averaging 12.7 points and 9.6 rebounds as they captured the championship. He also made the Mythical Team.

He would help the team win another crown in 2016 under coach Aldin Ayo and applied for the PBA Draft the following year. He was tabbed by the Phoenix Fuel Masters with the fourth overall pick and has played for the same team since, becoming one of its leaders.

Abu Tratter (Season 77 to Season 80)

Although undersized at his position, Tratter is a reliable center-forward who can get boards and defend bigger foes well. These attributes were exactly what he brought to the table when the Green Archers won a title in 2016.

His style of play was a sight to behold for PBA coaches, who were all in need of extra big bodies in the hopes of limiting San Miguel Beermen’s June Mar Fajardo. Tratter, who is now playing for the Magnolia Hotshots, was drafted seventh overall in 2018.

He is now on his fourth team in the PBA, but things are looking up for the member of the 2019 PBA All-Rookie Team.

Breaking down the team

As far as college stints are concerned, this team enjoys a wealth of championship experience. When the going gets tough, one can count on each of them to deliver, with Casio the most ready to take those off-balanced jumpers at the buzzer. 

Teng can score at will, especially now that he has improved his perimeter shooting. The same goes for Malonzo, who has proven last season that he can do pretty much everything. While undersized, Perkins and Tratter are still threats in the paint.

With the right system, this team can take on any team and contend for a championship in the PBA. Agree?