Despite finishing with contrasting results in the previous year, the DLSU Woodpushers are geared to reclaim the title back to Taft. The Lady Woodpushers nearly closed out a back-to-back championship, however, a single tiebreak seemed to be the determinant of a heartbreaking Season 79. The Men’s team, on the other hand, went down to fifth place after having a podium finish last 2016, placing third. Now, with a handful of outgoing players, the Green Woodpushers are prepared to make a gallant run for a championship. Meanwhile, the Lady Woodpushers will look to replicate their composure and performance from the previous two seasons.
“We will just take it one game at a time, at least win every match ganon. Yun yung talagang goal namin, to win every match,” says head coach, Randy Segarra, who hopes to finish the season strong especially for his seniors in the Men’s team whose last championship was way back in 2015.
“Pipilitin namin talagang, gawin yung best namin para maachieve yung top three bago man lang sana kami umalis. Kasi tatlo kaming pumasok dito ng sabay sabay so tatlo din kaming mawawala. Parang gusto namin yung exit namin maging maganda, gusto namin magchampion kami,” adds Christian Nanola, captain of the Green Woodpushers.
(We will be doing our best to get into the top three before we graduate. The three of us got here at the same time so we will be leaving simultaneously as well. We want a good exit, we want to be champions.)
Green Woodpushers poised for triumph
One of the recent tournaments the team joined was the Red Kings Individual Tournament as a way of preparing for the upcoming season. Apart from that and regular training, self-practice and discipline was also emphasized by Segarra.
Jeazzir Kline Surposa and Denzel John Amar are among the players on their last year of eligibility along with Nanola. The trio will be vying for a championship after years of hardwork and perseverance. Conversely, Davenson Co and Justine Robert Co are the teams’ novices and will be filling in their roles for the years to come.
As for the potential concerns this season, Segarra is mindful of the surprises of the opposing universities along with a change of venue from Henry Sy Building in La Salle to UST’s Quadri Pavilion. “I think mag-aadjust ulit kami, lahat ng teams din. Tsaka syempre mga bagong mukha, bagong players na di pa namin alam kung sino naka-field,” he adds further.
(I think we and all the teams have to adjust again. Along with the new faces, new players because we still don’t know who they’re going to field.)
Meanwhile, Nanola is eyeing pressure as the biggest hurdle. The defending champions, National University, will also be hindering their progress as they will surely be a tough team to match.
Nevertheless, the Green Woodpushers will be giving their all to make sure they end the season on a high note.
Lady Woodpushers determined to regain the title
Segarra says, “I hope sa women’s we can get back the lost championship last year.” The head coach explained the heartbreaking tiebreak that robbed them of a championship. Hopefully, this time around, with the proper strengthening and preparation, the Lady Woodpushers will be more equipped against its battle with pressure.
As they enter the 80th season of the UAAP, a majority of the players from the women’s team acknowledge this season as their final playing year. Bernadette Galas, the women’s team captain, states that it is of utmost importance that each and every one of them give their all this season. “The desire to win the game and treat every round as if it is the last game of their life,” the Grandmaster states that such mindset is key in the upcoming tournament.
Galas continues, “For me, our abilities and skills are already in good shape and what hinders us from winning is the self-confidence that sometimes we don’t possess.” Hence, aiding the players’ psyche and mental strength was one of Segarra’s main focuses in preparing the team for this season. “It’s more of how you psych up yourself doon sa mismong laban kasi mental factor yung psychology at tsaka yung disposition mo,” he said.
The love of the game and the urge to win together with the team are one of Galas’s main motivations in playing the sport. In conclusion she claims, “What is important is that we have to focus on playing and represent DLSU in our own chess boards. I expect our team to perform our very best in all extent.”