The year 2000 ushered in a new century which introduced the world to boy bands, weird fashion trends and much more. It was the year where many people would look back and say, “What were we thinking?” but of course, this does not apply for everyone, specifically the DLSU Badminton Team, for this was the year that they welcomed their soon-to-be-head coach, Owen Lopez.
“Player kasi ako dati ng La Salle. Kami yung first batch ng SRM so nag-one year ako sa La Salle,” he says when asked on how his coaching career began. “So after ng one year lumipat ako ng FEU pero at the same time nagcocoach na ko ng La Salle. I think assistant pa ako nun,” Lopez adds.
Despite transferring to FEU at one point, Lopez remained green-blooded, and over time he went back to his alma mater. Working his way up as a member of the DLSU Shuttlers’ coaching staff, he was eventually named the head coach of both teams. However, like every other golden opportunity, there were many obstacles to overcome, such as handling the players.
“Iba-ibang player na nahahandle mo. Iba iba yung mga ugali so dapat at the same time kahit magkaiba ang mga ugali niyan, yung goal niyo naman nagiisa,” he shares regarding the challenges of being a coach.
Nevertheless, the position has its rewards. Like every other coach, Lopez makes sure that he is able to train his players. After all, playing for a league like the UAAP is one of the greatest opportunities that could be offered for a collegiate athlete.
“Pag na-achieve yung goal syempre kasi yan yung pinaka-objective ng team,” he replies pertaining to the lighter side of his job.
Nobody knows the strengths and weaknesses of an athlete more than his or her coach. The coach’s eyes are the best lenses to see and understand the team’s total performance. As a long time head coach of La Salle’s badminton teams, Lopez already knows the shortcomings of his team, and he cites that communication is one of those. “[Ang weakness namin ay] yung decision-making ‘pag dating sa loob ng court tapos at the same time, siyempre, yung studies,” he shares. However, Lopez affirmed that studies remain as the top priority of his players.
Lopez admitted that La Salle’s trimestral academic system is also a factor affecting the performance of his players, especially the rookies. The fast pace and short duration of every trimester becomes a big challenge for the rookies, particularly those who came from public high schools. However, Lopez explains, “Sa first year, medyo hirap [sila] kasi trisem [trimestral] tayo pero habang tumatagal, nakakapagadjust sila.”
As a coach in the sport and as a life mentor, Lopez wishes nothing but all the best for every player that is a part of his team, especially when they leave the University and the UAAP. He wanted to impart to his players the value of hard work and time management. He remarks, “Yan yung pinaka-importante.”
Before this year’s UAAP season kicked off, Lopez shared, “I hope this season maganda yung magiging result. Syempre, lahat naman tayo ang pinaka objective natin is mag-champion ang team.”
Lopez’s Green Shuttlers finished first runner-up in UAAP Season 77 while his Lady Shuttlers bowed out of the tourney in the stepladder semifinals.