As the 77th season of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) draws near, a pool of rookie athletes are injected into the different squads of DLSU. With La Salle seeking to capture its third consecutive General Championship crown and cement its status as one of the best, institution in the athletics department, hopes are high not only for the returnees in various sports, but also to the new faces who are suiting up for DLSU this upcoming UAAP 77.
Jenni Celine Dizon, a former high school standout of Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) and an aspiring DLSU Lady Tennister ace player, is one of those willing to dedicate their blood, sweat, and tears for the fulfilment of such a daunting feat.
Her introduction to the sport comes from her upbringing, as she came from a family of tennis players. Both her parents, along with her brother and sister, as well as her grandfather, were actively involved in her growth as an athlete.
At first, she admitted that the love for tennis was not there yet, claiming that she only participated to spend time with her siblings and see them compete in tournaments.
“Sumasama kasi ako sa mga tournaments ng ate at kuya ko. Pero ayoko talaga mag-tennis,” she claims. One thing that the 16-year-old is not fond of when playing tennis is the exposure to heat, due to the sport being played mostly outdoors, and the relative strictness of her parents when it comes to the mechanics of the game.
Before formally competing against tennis players, Dizon was initially a member of the ADDU badminton varsity team for a couple of years until she returned to the sport she first came to practice.
“Matagal akong nag-badminton tapos, mahirap, pagbalik ko ng tennis mahirap kasi sobrang bigat na ng racquet,” she comments on her transition from badminton to tennis.
Although difficulties presented themselves as she chose the latter sport over the former, Jenni was able to successfully represent the ADDU Blue Knights in various tournaments, racking up first place finishes to earn the distinction of being among the finest tennis players within the Davao area. Dizon was a member of the Davao Region netters that bagged the gold medal in the recently concluded 57th Palarong Pambansa held in Laguna.
With most of her playing career spent at a rival institution, the humble Dabawenya cited that her decision regarding her shift from the realm of the blue-and-white to the green-and-white was primarily affected by La Salle’s remarkable consistency in the UAAP tennis tournaments. Apart from the university’s widely-recognized reputation in famed sports such as basketball and volleyball, the Taft-based crew also boasts a rich legacy in lesser known sporting events such as tennis. With a total of 17 championships and a handful of runner up finishes including last season’s capper at second behind National University, La Salle’s tennis program can be regarded as one of the most successful in the country to date. Furthermore, her sister, Stef Dizon, was once a Lady Tennister herself and was part of the women’s team that won the championship back in 2010.
Now on her first year as a member of the Lady Tennisters, the former Blue Knight aims to successfully maintain DLSU’s track record in tennis, and to become instrumental in regaining the title this coming season. On top of her aspirations as a UAAP rookie, Dizon also hopes to perform well in her academics, which she believes is a necessary aspect of being a student athlete.