The resumption of the UAAP basketball tournament from a 10-day break on Saturday will also be the start of the La Salle Green Archers’ quest to do what three other schools had in the past.
With an immaculate 12-0 record, the Green Archers need two more victories to secure a rare double-round elimination sweep and an outright berth to the best-of-three championship series.
That bid begins on Saturday when La Salle faces archrival Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Should they emerge victorious in that rivalry game, the Green Archers can go for the sweep on Nov. 12 against the defending champion Far Eastern University Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Should they hurdle both teams, the Green Archers will become the fourth school since the UAAP began implementing a playoff series to determine its champion in 1963 to pull off a sweep of the eliminations.
University of the East and Far Eastern University each did the trick three times while University of Santo Tomas won the crown via a 14-game sweep of the 1993 season.
UE’s first sweep came in 1969 when the team coached by the late Baby Dalupan and powered by Johnny Revilla won all eight games before defeating rival UST, 105-96, at the Loyola Center.
The following year, Dalupan, Revilla, Rudolf Kutch, Rodolfo Soriano, Rey Franco and the rest of the Red Warriors did it again, winning all 10 games of the eliminations before outlasting the National University Bulldogs, 106-95, in the final held at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
FEU won all 10 games in 1976 to secure the championship outright. Then the Tams went perfect from 1980 to 1981, going 12-0 in both seasons behind American import Anthony Williams and Glenn Capacio.
In 1993, UST began the first of a streak of four consecutive titles thanks to Dennis Espino, Patrick Fran, Udoy Belmonte, Siot Tanquincen and coach Aric del Rosario. The Growling Tigers were the last UAAP team to win the championship outright via a sweep as the league changed its rules a year later by rewarded teams which will pull off such feat a quick trip to the finals.
Thirty-seven years after its back-to-back sweep, UE pulled off a third in 2007 by going 14-0 behind coach Dindo Pumaren and stars Mark Borboran, Marcy Arellano, James Martinez and a rookie guard named Paul Lee. That allowed the Red Warriors to enter the finals outright.
However, UE failed to capitalize as it was swept in the finals by Dindo’s brother Franz and the La Salle Green Archers, earning the dubious distinction as the only team that failed to a win a title despite a perfect elims slate.