SportsUAAP: Green Woodpushers clinch elusive championship; Lady Woodpushers drop to second
UAAP: Green Woodpushers clinch elusive championship; Lady Woodpushers drop to second
March 2, 2015
March 2, 2015

The DLSU Green Woodpushers relied on a strong finish and a dominant second round to clinch their first championship in over a decade.

The DLSU Lady Woodpushers, on the other hand, were unable to complete an unprecedented five-peat, one that would have put them closer to the likes of the six-peat FEU and DLSU Woodpusher teams.

Starting out in the middle of the pack, the Green Woodpushers hit their stride once the calendar hit February and March, as they did not drop a single match on the way to their first championship since head coach Randy Segarra was still a playing member of the team.

Despite a strong first half and a close second half with eventual champion FEU, a victory wasn’t enough to earn the Lady Woodpushers five championships in five years.

“I commend my players, yun din [they] played with a lot of heart,” Coach Segarra says. “Di ko rin [inexpect] to, from slow start, yun nga, nagpakita silang promise and nakita ko talagang paunti nang paunti humahabol sila.”

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Slow start

Coming into the competition, both teams were heavy favorites given their recent showing in the Unigames and the training regimen coach Segarra put his wards under. Though the likes of FEU and UST were deemed as contenders, both the Green Woodpushers and Lady Woodpushers were still the heavy favorites heading into the first round.

From the onset, however, Adamson and FEU proved to be the main rivals for DLSU in the men’s and women’s division respectively. The Green Woodpushers dropped their first round match against Adamson, 2.5-1.5, but they won their next three games to end the first round tied with them. In the women’s division, FEU had the upper hand against the Lady Woodpushers in their first game, 2.5-1.5.

After that loss, the Lady Woodpushers would then win six straight to overtake the only team to beat them in the first round.

“Talagang, nag prepare sila ng maayos and we just followed [the] strategy and di kami bumigay,” coach Segarra explains, adding that they really worked hard despite staring down at a loss early.

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Thrilling finish

For the Green Woodpushers, the moment the second round began, it was off to the races. Not only were they registering wins, they were also limiting their opponents by an average of 0.83 points per match while scoring an average of 3.25 points in their first six games.

In the winner-take-all finale against Adamson, the Green Woodpushers scored less than their average (3.0) and allowed their opponents to score more than they usually allow (1.0) yet it wasn’t enough to stop them from finally seizing the championship after coming short the past few years.

“Actually, nagpeak [sila] kasi we were fourth or fifth ata ng first three rounds tapos inch by inch talagang humahabol kami and by the seventh round we tied with the leaders and every game [after] we won,” coach Segarra recounts, mentioning that one key to their victory was sticking to the right strategy.

Though the Lady Woodpushers continued their strong pace throughout the second round, a strong showing by FEU allowed them to take overtake DLSU midway through the second round.

It was also a winner-take-all finale between both teams and despite the Lady Woodpushers coming away with the 2.5-1.5 win, it was FEU who went home with the crown.

“They played with a lot of heart, tsaka, marami kaming obstacles na inovercome but yun nga, we still achieved yung top three finish, which is [a], blessing na rin,”

Segarra mentioned. “Sabi nga nila, may edge din [yung kalaban], but we defied the odds and we [executed] our strategy.

Aside from DLSU and Adamson, UST emerged as the third placer in the men’s division while UP was the other podium finisher after first and second placers FEU and DLSU in the women’s division.

DLSU’s Jerad Docena emerged as this year’s Rookie of the Year and MVP of the men’s division while in the women’s division, FEU’s Janelle Frayna and Shania Mendoza took home the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors respectively.

With a year before the next UAAP tournament, Coach Segarra is looking to give his players a well-deserved break so that they can focus on their academics before plunging into an offseason full of regrouping and exposure to different tournaments.

“We’ll work hard for yung mga offseason tournaments, national chamionships, and kumbaga, mabigyan lang ng break yung mga bata,” he said, mentioning that they’re looking forward to working on playing strong positions, becoming better players, and playing in strong tournaments.