The DLSU Green and Lady Shuttlers aim to clinch the UAAP Season 80 title as the badminton season began last Thursday, with both teams winning against the UST Growling Tigers and the AdU Lady Falcons, respectively, in their first match-ups.
The Green Shuttlers ended last season in fourth place, while the Lady Shuttlers reached the playoff round but settled for a third place finish. With a new season and a fresh start, both teams are hoping to improve their standing this year and bring the title home to Taft.
Preparing for the season
Having been used to internal competition, Lady Shuttlers team captain Lin Javier shared how this season may be different from previous ones due to a lack of players. She also stated that last season became an eye-opener which has made her and the team push themselves beyond their limits; since they will need the spirit and motivation to keep pushing each other to up their game.
“Ang laki ng ine-expect namin na makuha yung championship,” Javier explained. “Dati, nasa ten [players] kami and yung kayang ilagay sa lineup lang ng badminton is eight pero ngayon lang kami naka-experience na seven lang kami kaya yun yung pinaka-challenge namin, na kailangan namin ibigay yung pinaka-best namin since kulang kami ng isa.”
(We have huge expectations to achieve the championship. Previously, our team was composed of ten [players] and only eight could be placed in the lineup, but it’s only now that we’ve experienced having only seven players so that’s the biggest challenge because we have to give our very best since we lack one [player].)
The Lady Shuttler also stated that although she has three teammates on the national team and one that competed in the recent Southeast Asian Games, slacking off will not be an option. She adds that losing the graduating players from last season will not be a disadvantage, even though they played a big part in the season, since they have left a few things for the team to learn from and improve on in the upcoming season.
As for the men’s team, Green Shuttlers captain Bee Monterubio shared that the team trains every day while also doing extra work for the doubles division; since majority of the team is used to playing singles. Key players like Anton Cayanan and Kenneth Monterubio have previously made a huge impact on the team, but even with them exhausting their playing years, B. Monterubio remains optimistic that the men’s team is competent enough to compete with the other UAAP teams.
According to head coach Owen Lopez, a change from last season is the adjustment of the team’s training schedule from morning to evening, and that he has been preparing both teams physically and mentally for the upcoming season by helping them use what they have learned during training and in their preseason tournaments. Although their training regimen remains the same, Lopez pointed that helping his players continually improve is his job and something that he will make sure happens. “Lagi ko ineemphasize sa kanila na kahit hindi tayo nag-uusap, pag gumalaw ako, I hope maka-follow up ka,” he reiterated.
(I always emphasize that even when we don’t talk, when I move, I hope you could follow up.)
High expectations and fair play
When it comes to expectations, Javier shared that the team’s goal is to first get past the eliminations then go straight for the championship. For her, though, she just wants to make sure that everyone on the team gives their all.
“Kahit manalo or matalo, as long as binibigay nila yung pinaka-fair na game. Expectation ko talaga sa sarili ko ay lagi akong naniniwala sakanila na kaya nila yun and nandito ako as their senior to always motivate them when they’re feeling down.”
(Win or lose, as long as they play fair. My expectation for myself is to believe that they can do it and that I’m here as their senior to always motivate them when they’re feeling down.)
Just like Javier, Monterubio also expects the team to play well. “Maglaro lang ng maayos. I will also do my best for myself and for [the team],” he explained.
With no rookies this season, Lopez hopes that his seniors will step up and take responsibility in leading the rest of the team. “Sinasabi ko sa kanila na kailangan mabilis mag–adapt kasi may mga players na singles lang talaga at hindi nag do-doubles. Hopefully, nakikita naman namin pagdating sa training.”
(I tell them that they have to adapt quickly since there are some players who really only play singles, not doubles. Hopefully, we see it during training.)
Last Saturday, the Green Shuttlers continued to perform, beating AdU, 5-0, but the women suffered their first defeat that day against UP. In today’s match-up, the Green Shuttlers were defeated by ADMU, 4-1.
Both teams are hoping for a championship in Season 80 as the Lady Paddlers are set to continue their season on Friday, September 29, at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Courts, challenging the UST Lady Tigresses. The men’s team will resume action on September 30 against the UE Red Warriors.