With the second round of eliminations concluding last Friday, October 12, the DLSU Lady Paddlers achieved an impressive win-loss record of 14-0, which helped place themselves at the top of the standings. The Lady Paddlers automatically booked an advanced ticket to the Championship match. The Green Paddlers, on the other hand, received a different result as they failed to proceed to the Final Four after attaining a win-loss record of 6-8 and ending their season early.
Green Paddlers settle for fifth place
La Salle began the second round with three consecutive losses to the NU Bulldogs, the UE Red Warriors, and the UST Growling Tigers. DLSU lost to NU and UE in three games, 3-0, and was unsuccessful in defeating UST after five matches, 3-2.
With four games remaining and the season on the line, the team from Taft attained their first win in the second round after beating the UP Fighting Maroons in a tightly-contested five match game, 3-2. However, the Green Paddlers failed to secure a victory over their archrivals, the ADMU Blue Eagles. The loss against ADMU gave the Green-and-White a win-loss record of 5-7, which meant that the last two games were a must-win from DLSU if they wanted to advance to the Final Four.
DLSU made quick work of the FEU Tamaraws as Tarak Cabrido, Ermar Eder, and Daniel Ocon won their matches and secured the victory, 3-1. The last team to face was the AdU Soaring Falcons who they also needed to win over to prevent a three-way tie. Adamson stood with a win-loss record of 7-7 alongside FEU & DLSU.
The Green Paddler team captain, Cabrido, attained the first match point of the game in favor of La Salle after defeating Soaring Falcon Monforte in four games, 3-1. AdU would answer back by securing the next two match points after Rarama succeeded in beating Green Paddler Eder, 3-0, and the Soaring Falcons’ duo of Coraza and Balaliquit prevailed over the Green Paddler duo of Enric Remitio and Patrick Pasumbal in a close game, 3-2.
Ocon rose to the occasion and tied the series, 2-2, after obtaining the victory over AdU’s Eneria in five sets, 3-2. The deciding match placed Green Paddler rookie Eder against Soaring Falcon Polido. Polido triumphed over Eder, handing DLSU their eighth loss of the season. Aside from leaving the tournament in an early exit, the team was also unable to qualify for the semi-finals.
Coach Jerald Cristobal shared his thoughts on the performance of the Green Paddlers in the second round saying that he thought the men’s team would reach the Final Four. He explained, “Sa nangyari sa second round, natalo kami sa unexpected team. ‘Di namin akalain na matatalo kami”.
(With what happened in the second round, we lost to an unexpected team. We didn’t expect that we would lose.)
Coach Jerald also added, “Yung men’s team ano pa eh halos sa kanila mga bata pa talaga so madami pa talagang kailangan na aralin or kaya experience pa, ma-expose pa sila sa mga tournaments”.
(The men’s team, most of them are still young so there really is a lot for them to learn or experience, [they need to be] exposed to more tournaments.)
Lady Paddlers’ Championship form
The Lady Paddlers gave it their all and overpowered the UP Lady Maroons, FEU Lady Tamaraws, UE Lady Warriors, archrivals ADMU Lady Eagles, NU Lady Bulldogs, and the AdU Lady Falcons in three sets, 3-0, while dropping only one match against the UE Lady Warriors, 3-1.
The match left for the Green-and-White was against the UST Golden Tigresses who planned on preventing La Salle to achieve an elimination round sweep and an automatic ticket to the Championship match.
Lady Paddlers Emy Dael and Jannah Romero gave the early 2-0 match lead for DLSU after defeating Golden Tigresses’ Encarnacion, 3-0, and Ronquillo, 3-1, respectively. UST then tied the series 2-2 following the victory of the pair of Kathleen and Katrina Tempiature over the Lady Paddler pair of Caressha Bernaldez and Ina Co, 3-2, and the win of Gabisay against Jhoana Go, 3-1.
The last set was played by DLSU’s Chantal Alberto and UST’s Derecho. Alberto maintained her composure and triumphed over Derecho in four sets, 13-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6, which secured the Lady Paddlers’ spot at the top of the standings, rendered them undefeated in the elimination round, and booked their fifth Finals appearance.
When asked about the dominant performance displayed by the Lady Paddlers, coach Lauro Crisostomo shared, “Itong second round, ini–expect ko naman this round na umabot lagi sa dulo against UST. Kasi ang UST malakas din na team.” He added, “Yun lang kasi well-prepared din kami talaga kung ano man mangyari, kung saan naman kami aabot. Handang-handa naman mga players ko pagdating sa crucial. Kaya yun, kuha pa namin yung sweep.”
(This second round, we expected to reach the end against UST. Because UST is also a strong team. It’s just that we were really well-prepared for whatever happens, and until how far we’ll go. My players are very ready when it comes to what is crucial. That’s why we’re able to achieve a sweep.)
The UAAP Season 81 Table Tennis Finals will be a rematch of last season as the DLSU Lady Paddlers will once again be facing the UST Golden Tigresses in a best of three game tomorrow, October 15, at the UP Diliman College of Kinetics. The first game will be held at 9 am, followed by the second at 1 pm, and the last game at 3 pm.