Several Lasallian teams competed in this year’s University Games (UniGames) last October 21-29, 2017 in Dumaguete City. Reigning women’s chess champions Lady Woodpushers claimed their back-to-back title after finishing the tournament undefeated. The DLSU Lady Spikers, meanwhile, fell short but improved to second place after their third place finish in last year’s UniGames.
On the other hand, the DLSU Men’s Football team and the DLSU Green Spikers ended the tournament at fifth place, with the former dropping from last year’s second place and the latter maintaining their standing for the second consecutive year.
Coming off their surprising second place finish in last year’s UAAP Chess Championship, the Lady Woodpushers were keen to compete and make the best out of the UniGames to kick off their preparations for UAAP Season 80. However, this year, only three teams competed in the Women’s chess division.
First, La Salle was up against Holy Angels University, which they easily defeated, 4-0. However, the victory did not come easily. “Hindi siya ganoon ka-dali, sa tingin ko natalo lang namin sila dahil sa experience na din,” explains fourth year player Bernadette Galas.
(It wasn’t that easy, I think they only lost because we had more experience.)
DLSU then went off to face the remaining team in the competition, a competent Jose Maria College, which they also finished off in quick fashion, 4-0. Galas claims that the match-up was crucial, as JMC was actually a formidable opponent.
The Lady Woodpushers, despite sweeping the competition, faced a handful of problems throughout the tournament. The fourth year player cites how an overflow of confidence for the team caused adversity during their quest for a back-to-back. “Masyado kaming na-sobrahan sa confidence sa sarili, na hindi namin masyadong na-consider yung kayang gawin ng opponent namin.”
(We became too confident with ourselves, that we weren’t able to consider the capabilities of our opponents.)
But despite only having to face two teams in their pre-season fixtures, the experience has surely helped them as they quest for redemption in the second semester of the UAAP. “Kahit na, yun nga, two teams lang, parang nag-silbi parin siyang, at least, test sa amin,” Galas muses, “Alam namin sa sarili namin na may kulang pa pala, na madami pang dapat gawan ng paraan.”
(Even though that, yeah, [we faced] only two teams, it at least served as a test for us. We know that we are still lacking, that there are still things that will need fixing.”
Green and Lady Spikers finish with mixed results
Current UAAP Women’s Volleyball Champions DLSU Lady Spikers breezed through the UniGames, defeating three of their four elimination round match-ups, 3-0, albeit losing a single set to Arellano University, 3-1.
La Salle’s success carried over to the playoffs, as they defeated De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, 3-0, with a scoreline of 25-16, 25-22, 25-9. With the win, the Lady Spikers had already improved their previous UniGames standing and were keen on finishing strong. However, the UST Golden Tigresses stood in their way as the latter claimed victory in a five-set thriller, 3-2.
As for the Green Spikers, they were undefeated with four wins during the elimination round but lost during the quarterfinals against the University of Perpetual Help, 3-1.
The team from Taft faced Arellano University first, 3-0, with a score line of 25-19, 25-19, 25-20. The Green Spikers then continued to sweep the elimination round but lost to Perpetual during the quarterfinals round, 23-25, 25-17, 16-25, 20-25, causing themselves an early exit from the tournament and finishing fifth.
Joshua Jose of the Green Spikers shared that one of the struggles the team faced during the tournament was continuously adjusting to different opponents everyday. “Unlike UAAP, we had games everyday. Siguro factor din na since hindi kami natalo sa eliminations, naging over-confident kami sa quarterfinals.” He also notes how the tournament is great exposure for them as they prepare for the season since their opponents have various playing styles. “Even though we’ve been working really hard for our team to improve, hindi dapat kami maging satisfied because we have to keep working [hard].” Jose explains.
Although they were unable to improve their standing from last year’s tournament, Jose and the team saw how they could still bounce back next year and learned how to push themselves further to attain a better position in the UAAP.
Men’s Football Team ends tournament in fifth
Finishing fifth in last year’s UniGames tournament, the Men’s Football Team was unable to improve their ranking this year as they closed the competition in fifth place once again.
The team lost their first game against UP, 0-1, but won against Foundation University on the second day, 4-0. However, they were not able to keep up with the University of St. La Salle Bacolod and ended the tournament with a record of 1-2.
Team captain Noel Brago explained how the team lacked a few offensive set plays since they prioritized their team’s defense more. “Our team’s defense only needs minor improvements since the goals we conceded were only lapses and mistakes.” he says.
Brago also shares how the team was able to bond more throughout their stay in Dumaguete and that they were able to come up with the right combination of players to fill up or replace the positions of the previous players who have already graduated.
Finally, the defender notes how he was able to see the potential of his team during the tournament. “This team can compete as long as we stick together and fight for each other. UAAP is our main priority and I know that we can put up a better performance this season than last year.” he concluded.