UAAP Season 80 Football: Opening day win a step in the right direction for Hans Smit and DLSU
“Like I told other guys before, this is an entirely different team from last year.” - DLSU Men's Football Head Coach Hans-Peter Smit
April 9, 2017.
At the hands of bitter rivals Ateneo, the De La Salle Green Archers were booted out of final four contention in the UAAP Season 79 men’s football tournament.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for head coach Hans-Peter Smit, who had steered La Salle to at least top-four finishes in the eight seasons prior, and a runner-up finish just two seasons ago.
What was more unacceptable for Smit was finishing in sixth place, behind a rebuilding National University squad that had played their first year without star striker Paolo Salenga.
On paper, the Green Archers were one of the most talented teams in the league. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate on the field, as the boys in green and white finished Season 79 with just four wins along with four draws and six losses.
Fast-forward ten months later, the Green Archers took to the pitch and made their UAAP Season 80 debut against the runners-up from the previous season, the FEU Tamaraws.
Playing with a sense of urgency after their opening day loss, the Tams took the lead early courtesy of star striker Rico Andes.
Coming off last season’s nightmare campaign, being down early was an all too familiar scenario.
Then, Matthew Custodio came up with the equalizer late in the first half to breathe life into the Archers, followed by a two-minute span in the second half that saw DLSU score twice more to take a commanding lead and ultimately send FEU to their second straight loss.
After last season’s nightmare of a campaign, the opening day win had to be a welcome relief for Smit and his boys.
“I've never been in sixth place before.” Smit told the media following their win over FEU.
At the end of last season, Smit said he was going to make some changes, and while it’s still too early to tell really, the opening day win is still a step in the right direction.
“Like I told other guys before, this is an entirely different team from last year.” Smit said. “I had to make a turnaround. I had to make some changes. I had to play with a mind game. I mean, last year, was the worst year I've ever had in my career.”
According to Smit, a lot of problems last season could be attributed to discipline, something that he’s addressed heading into this brand new season.
“Like I said, I was determined. I am more of a disciplinarian on the kids, they have to know what they're up against, so hopefully, we'll see it it will rub off on the next games.”
“Every single detail brings us up to last year, so at least now they're a lot more mature compared to last year.” Smit added.
Thursday’s win was just the first step to DLSU’s bounce back season, and there’s still a whole tournament to go and a ton of work left to be done.
“The target now is take it slow, it's the first game. Our target is to reach the Final Four. Hopefully, not #4, so we'll what happens.”
The Green Archers will be looking for their second win in a row when they take on Adamson University on Sunday, 1:30 PM at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.