UAAP Season 80 saw mixed results from the DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers. The men’s division finished in fifth place, while the women’s achieved their goal of claiming the UAAP crown for the fourth straight year.
With the table tennis tournament right around the corner, the players and head coach Lauro Crisostomo gives a glimpse of what the Green-and-White hopes for in the 81st edition of the UAAP.
“Without them [we] wouldn’t be here. They believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. We want to return everything by showing them that we’re a fighter and that we have the spirit of a Lasallian,” shares Emy Dael, as she explains that the team will be dedicating their games to everyone who has been supporting them coming into the table tennis tourney.
This season in particular will be holding a special meaning in the minds of the Taft-based squad as they will also be dedicating it to former Lady Paddler Ian Lariba. “She’s a fighter in life and in [the] game. We want her to be happy with our performances. We don’t want all her efforts to motivate and inspire us to just go into nothing,” Dael adds.
Double the efforts and preparations
Despite not being able to advance to the final four last season, the Green Paddlers are determined to bounce back this time around. Green Paddler team captain Tarak Cabrido states that last season’s outcome will be their source of motivation in preparing for the upcoming season, “Yung effort na ginagawa namin sa training last season, dinodoble namin this season.”
As the team’s primary goal is to bring back the championship to Taft, Cabrido explains that they have to keep certain objectives in mind. The men’s team captain resolves that a step-by-step process is necessary before they eye for the bacon this season. Cabrido also knows that a final four spot won’t come easily with the improving competition and higher intensity in the UAAP. “Pag-sinabi mo UAAP mabigat so andun yung pressure, mabigat yung intensity ng laro,” Cabrido states.
[If you say UAAP, the pressure is there and the intensity of the games is heavier.]
After last season, the team parted ways with some of their teammates. On the other hand, though, they welcome into the family Josiah Espinosa, Ermar Eder, and Vince Remitio for the men’s team, and Jannah Romero, Jhoana Go, and Kimberly Ann Sorongon for the women’s team. Crisostomo believes that the rookies will give their absolute best especially in their first taste of a UAAP competition.
Additionally, Cabrido states that he has high expectations for his teammates to step up and perform well this season. “Iniexpect ko yung mga ibang teammates ko na naglaro na dati ay mag-step up sila. Sa mga rookies din, iniexpect ko na parang mailabas nila yung mga laro na pinapakita nila sa ibang tournament.”
[I expect my teammates who participated last season to step up, and our rookies to do well. I expect them to that they will be able to show their true A-game in the UAAP competition.]
Team first mentality
The Lady Paddlers are well aware that a “team first” mentality will be a factor that can help build the chemistry and performance of the team. According to team captain Kimberly Lumaneda, “Sobrang important kasi it is [a] team event, not individual na kung may isa nanalo pwede siyang mag–champion mag-isa, it is all about teamwork, team effort.”
[It is very important because table tennis is a team sport not individual. It’s all about teamwork and team effort.]
Although the women’s team may be on the way to prolonging their streak, Lumaneda states that a double championship from both the men’s and women’s team matters more than achieving the possible five-peat. “We’re not really thinking about the five-peat, we’re thinking about a double championship.”
When asked about the mindset of the team, Coach Lauro clarifies that he tells the Green and Lady Paddlers to stay focused and to give it their all. He wants every single player to contribute to the team, be it winning their respective games, or supporting their teammates on the sides.
The DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers, having congruent mindsets, are ready for any challenge that they may face together. With high expectations, they will aim to deliver and achieve the double championship they have aspired for as they open their campaign on September 22, at the University of Philippines Diliman Gymnasium, Quezon City.