To end the UE championship run is something that the DLSU Green Fencers and Lady Fencers aim to accomplish this coming season, a goal that goes side-by-side with them looking to improve their fourth-place finishes from last year.
With their heads held high, the DLSU squad, a mix of both young talents and seasoned veterans, will tackle other powerhouse teams such as UST and UP in the UAAP Season 78 Fencing Championship that will take place at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.
The Red Warriors are looking to win their fourth straight title and 11th overall in the men’s division while also gunning for their ninth straight title and 10th overall in the women’s division.
To date, the Green Fencers and Lady Fencers have yet to win a championship at the event, with the best result of both squads being a first-runner up finish in 1998 and 2014 for the former and 2011 and 2012 for the latter.
Graduating skipper May Montenegro will be leading the charge for the Lady Fencers, while Rayd Orozco will continue to lead the Green Fencers, who are upbeat with the arrival of new recruits from powerhouse UE’s high school.
“We know that UE is a big competitor when it comes to fencing diba. Sila usually yung number one, and most of their players compete in the national team. We have three rookies (two in the women’s division and one men’s division) all coming from UE so we really have a good edge sa competition,” said Montenegro.
In what seems like a season full of promise, the DLSU Fencers will rely heavily on their rookies. Montenegro, however, sees the team’s youth as an asset this year. “For me talaga, maganda yung pasok ng rookies namin. Ang laki talaga ng hatak nila for us kasi una, experiensado na sila,” the Lady Fencer captain said, briefly mentioning how their rookies had already competed at a high level at such a young age.
The Lady Fencers will be expecting experienced recruits from UE to add depth to their arsenal. On the downside of things, the Fencers will be sending off their veterans out on their final UAAP season, with Montenegro being one of them. Orozco will be spearheading things for the Fencers one last time together with key players Jairus Quevada and Gian Franco Rodriguez. Also, Geraldine Tianzon of the Lady Fencers will be playing her final year for the team.
Both squads used the offseason not only to work on conditioning, but also to go back to the basics. These preparations, along with participating in local and international preseason tournaments, were crucial to their buildup for the UAAP tournament.
“We went to competitions such as the Philippine National Games (PNG), and Invitational games of De Lipa Academy for Math and Science, which is yung parang pre-season games. Last year, nag-join kami sa Hong Kong Opens, and it played a big part sa competence namin as a team kasi na-expose kami sa laro ng higher level and different settings,” said Montenegro, who managed to bag the lone bronze medal for the Lady Fencers at the PNG, while the Green Fencers managed to haul two gold medals, a silver medal, and a pair of bronze medals at the tournament.
The coming UAAP Fencing tournament will see the debut of several new key players that will boost the performance of the entire team. Montenegro said that the DLSU community should expect a stronger team this season.
“The pressure is always there, especially because our performance will really play a crucial role in the progress of DLSU’s General Championship tally. Also, because most of our players are on their last playing year, they would want to, of course, end their last year [in] DLSU with a bang,” said Montenegro.
Apart from the pressure, she is also optimistic about this year’s outcome. “There’s more of that good tension that motivates us to perform harder, better, and with more dedication,” the Lady Fencers captain concluded.