The DLSU Green Paddlers and Lady Paddlers officially began their first round campaign in the UAAP Season 78 Table Tennis tournament last October 17 and 24 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
Entering as the defending champions in both divisions, La Salle proved that they are still the teams to beat in this annual competition by emerging with only one loss after both the Men’s and Women’s divisions ended their respective rounds. The Lady Paddlers dominated the opposition, going undefeated through seven games to finish the first round on top. The Green Paddlers, on the other hand, ended in second place with a 6-1 win-loss record.
Green Paddlers shake off early jitters
In their first game, the Green Paddlers fell to the UST Growling Tigers. They managed to at least get on the board but they fell short in their tournament opener, with the Growling Tigers taking the win, 3-1.
The Green Paddlers managed to bounce back from their loss, as they took down the NU Bulldogs and the FEU Tamaraws with 3-0 and 3-1 scores, respectively. Their first day, however, wouldn’t end quickly as the Adamson Falcons stretched the series to five games, before DLSU secured a 3-2 win.
Continuing the first round on October 24, the Green Paddlers faced archrival Ateneo in their first match that day. Nevertheless, the Paddlers managed to complete the sweep, 3-0, to begin their day on a high note.
La Salle continued to build off their winning streak as they defeated the UE Red Warriors and the UP Fighting Maroons with matching 3-1 scores to end the first round eliminations with a six-game winning streak. Despite tying La Salle with a 6-1 record, the Growling Tigers remain ahead while FEU (4-3), NU (4-3), ADU (4-3), UP (3-4), UE (1-6), and ADMU (0-7) round out the competition.
The Lady Paddlers picked up where they left off last year, demolishing FEU, 3-0, while taking a 3-1 victory over the NU Lady Bulldogs in their second game of the competition. In their third game against UST, the Lady Paddlers took a 2-0 set lead behind excellent performances from Jane Sy and Yan Lariba. They would lose the ensuing doubles match, however, forcing an extra game, with Emy Dael finishing the Growling Tigresses off in the fourth set.
The Lady Paddlers finished the first day of the competition with another sweep, this time against a struggling Ateneo side. Due to the storm last week, however, their next game was rescheduled the following week, giving them enough time to prepare for upcoming assignments.
Last October 24, the Lady Paddlers didn’t let a few days of rest ruin their momentum. They made short work of both Adamson and UE, winning both games with the score of 3-0. In their first round finale, they faced last year’s finalists and current host UP. UP’s Noriko Noshino drew first blood against DLSU’s Donna Gamilla in the first game, putting the team in unfamiliar territory. But true to form, the Green-and-White won the next three sets, culminated by a Dael win over Joma Sibal.
With their unblemished record, the Lady Paddlers sit atop the standings and remain on track for the tournament’s top seed. Right behind them, however, are FEU (6-1), UST (4-3), UP (4-3), UE (3-4), NU (3-4), Adamson (1-6), and Ateneo (0-7).
As of press time, both teams are in the midst of completing the second round of the competition as one of the top two seeds in their respective divisions, guaranteeing themselves at least a twice-to-beat advantage. Should the Lady Paddlers finish the elimination round undefeated, they will earn an outright finals berth with a thrice-to-beat advantage, letting the second, third, and fourth seeds battle it out in the stepladder semifinals.