Season 79 did not turn into the season that the DLSU Green Woodpushers and Lady Woodpushers were hoping for as they were not able to bring home championships in their respective divisions in the UAAP Chess Tournament that was held in different venues across Manila.
Entering as the defending champions, the Lady Woodpushers were aiming for back-to-back titles, but they fell short in their bid after suffering a draw to the FEU Lady Tamaraws, settling for second place for the second time in three years. On the other hand, the Green Woodpushers, who finished Season 78 in third place, slid all the way to fifth place.
“It is sad that both teams didn’t get the championship,” Lady Woodpushers team captain Joy Acedo said. “For the men’s team, this is the worst season for them because they weren’t able get in the top 3. And for the women’s team, we weren’t able to defend our title, we fought until the end pero kinapos kami.”
The Lady Woodpushers opened their campaign with a 3-1 victory over the ADMU Lady Eagles. DLSU carried on its momentum with victories over the UP Lady Maroons, NU Lady Bulldogs, UST Golden Tigresses, and UE Lady Warriors, while it settled for draws with the FEU Lady Tamaraws and AdU Lady Falcons. After the first seven rounds of the competition, the Lasallians and Lady Tamaraws were even with 21.5 points each, although the latter held first place having held more match points, 13-12.
Meanwhile, the Green Woodpushers held 13.5 points as La Salle prevailed on match points, 7-5, to sit in fifth place. The Green-and-White opened its campaign with a draw to the Soaring Falcons, but earned mixed results in the remaining rounds. The Lasallians picked up losses to the NU Bulldogs, UST Growling Tigers, and UE Red Warriors, but prevailed over the ADMU Blue Eagles, UP Fighting Maroons, and FEU Tamaraws.
With the title still well within reach, the Lady Woodpushers went on a tear heading into their season finale versus the Lady Tamaraws. From Rounds 8 to 13, they did not give up more than a point in each tie.
The Lasallians managed to replicate most of the results they achieved against their opponents, with their 4-0 crushing of the Lady Falcons serving as redemption for the draw they had to settle for in the previous round. The Lady Woodpushers’ run also saw them sweep two more teams in UST and NU, while they clinched 3-1 victories over ADMU, UP, and UE.
“The biggest improvement that I’ve seen from the team so far is being consistent,” Acedo said on their work during the season. “We may have [suffered] upsets from the other teams but still our team [makes] sure that [we’re]l able to help one another and ccheer namin yung bawat isa lalo na pag may natalo samin.” (We’ll cheer each other on especially when someone losses.)
The final round of the women’s division served as a virtual battle for the championship as the Lady Woodpushers needed no less than a win over the Lady Tamaraws to secure the title. Unfortunately, the Lasallians settled for a 2-2 draw and a second place finish. It was an even match across the board as neither player from both sides was able to secure a victory.
After 14 rounds, both La Salle and FEU accumulated 44.5 points each as the Lady Tamaraws prevailed and sealed the title on tiebreaking criteria. UE also wrapped up the podium with 27.5 points.
Rounds seven through 14 turned out to be a difficult stretch for the Green Woodpushers as they suffered four losses versus only two victories and a single draw. Throughout rounds eight to 11, they finished with a 2-2 win-loss record on wins over ADMU (3.5-0.5) and UP (3-1) and 3-1 losses to NU and UE. In their final three rounds, the Lasallians continued to stumble as they suffered two defeats and one draw, with their 2-2 draw to UST serving as their best result in the last four rounds of the competition.
The Green Woodpushers wound up in fifth place with five wins, two draws, and seven losses, accumulating a total of 26 points in Season 79. The NU Bulldogs, who emerged as back-to-back champions, finished with 44 points, while first-runners-up, the FEU Tamaraws, finished with 39. The Red Warriors produced a double-podium finish for UE as they also bagged third place in the men’s division with 33.5 points.
In the women’s division, GM Janelle Mae Frayna was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, but there was no Rookie of the Year handed out. NU’s Paulo Bersamina was named the men’s division MVP for Season 79, while ADMU’s Gavin Ona won Rookie of the Year honors.
Despite a drop in their season standings as compared to Season 78, both the Green Woodpushers and Lady Woodpushers still garnered medals for their performances on the board.
Bernadette Galas and Marie San Diego clinched silver in Board 1 and Board 2, respectively, while Acedo, Mira Mirano, and Ella Moulic won the gold medals in Boards 3, 5, and 6, respectively. Christian Nanola and Denzel Amar won medals for their efforts on the boards as the former took home the silver medal for Board 4, while the latter earned the bronze medal for Board 5.
As a result of their efforts, the Lady Woodpushers will contribute 12 points to the UAAP General Championship (GC) tally, while the Green Woodpushers will add six points to DLSU’s tally.
“As for now, what we can see is that we need to improve our maturity in elevating our team performance, dedication to passion and discipline,” Acedo said.