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Hours away from tonight’s much-awaited “PBA Dream Game 2012: Blue vs. Green” at the Smart Araneta Coliseum between longtime rival schools La Salle and Ateneo benefitting the cancer and hematology center of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, I spoke to former DLSU star and 2-time UAAP MVP Don Carlos Allado to get his thoughts on the storied rivalry.
Allado, who will be donning the green and white once again together with other former Archers such as Renren Ritualo, Mac Cardona, Jayvee Casio, Joseph Yeo, Mike Cortez and Rico Maierhofer among others, is chomping at the bit to relive his days holding the fort for his Alma Mater.
“The first time I walked into Araneta Coliseum to play Ateneo was the single most memorable moment for me in La Salle,” a nostalgic Allado told me. “I think it was one of the most attended event in Araneta history. I couldn’t believe the crowd of thousands. I’m used to people watching me in small crowds only.”
Allado will also be reunited with his former La Salle coach Franz Pumaren, who will be calling the shots for the Archers in the exhibition game.
Current Ateneo coach Norman Black will man the sidelines for the Ateneo squad comprised of LA Tenorio, JC Intal, Japeth Aguilar, Enrico Villanueva, Eric Salamat, Larry Fonacier, Doug Kramer, Rich Alvarez, Magnum Membrere, Wesley Gonzales, Noy Baclao, and Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
Asked who he thinks is the greatest Ateneo player ever, Allado didn’t hold back his impartiality. “None,” said the current Barako Bull power forward.
As far as former Archers are concerned, Allado paid tribute to Lim Eng Beng, and further emphasized the significance of the rivalry as a whole.
“When you have a history between schools, your competition level goes up, and as a whole the tournament improves. It adds more value and promotes school spirit. When you’re with a winning school, more students will attend that school and create a sense of community in that society,” Allado prompted.
Recently, La Salle landed blue chip recruit Jeron Teng from Xavier to boost up their roster. And by winning tonight’s game, Allado hopes to contribute to his Alma Mater’s continued success.
“Our school depends on us to win. It’s bragging rights and it further solidifies the program of the school,” Allado said.
In closing, the 6’6″ forward promised nothing less than the usual intensity seen in every La Salle vs. Ateneo game.
“I’m always eager to play against Ateneo. During my time, they won only twice against us and I get to play against the old and new generation of Ateneo players. Even though it’s an exhibition game for charity, you can be sure this game will bring out colors on the court and between players. The last time we played each other, a fight broke out and that’s just an example of the intensity between the players and school.”
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