After placing third and fourth respectively last season, the DLSU Green and Lady Judokas look to improve their standings in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). In the previous season, the Green Judokas finished with a total of 16 points, remaining in third place for the third consecutive season. Meanwhile, the Lady Judokas remained in the fourth spot for the second time around, earning only a total of four points throughout the tourneys.
Going into Season 81, the teams from Taft joined various preseason tournaments to help them prepare and gain experience. Green Judoka team captain Adrian Perillo shares with The LaSallian how the offseason tournaments helped the junior players in his team prepare for this season, “I think we’re more improved than last season because our junior players [have] already matured.” Perillo also shares that the men’s team was lucky enough to recruit more rookies to help them in this year’s tournament.
On the other hand, Lady Judokas team captain Carmila Cardona discloses how her squad prepared for the upcoming season. “Meron kaming mga sinalihan before this coming UAAP na mga invitational tournaments,” shares Cardona as she talked about the All Women’s tourney and the Ateneo Judo Invitational meet that the team joined.
(We joined a few invitational tournaments before the upcoming UAAP.)
The women’s team was not able to recruit rookies, but head coach Sam Bernales mentions that he tells his girls to play their best despite their lack of players in the roster. “Anything can happen. Even the strongest player, pwede malaglag,” Bernales emphasizes.
(Even the strongest player can drop out.)
Bernales gives us a glimpse of the changes in their training regimen as compared to last year. Unfortunately, the training mats in their dojo have been damaged and are now injury prone. According to the coach, the team currently trains at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex together with the national team. “I always tell my team that it’s a great opportunity that we get to train together with the national team since they are being challenged,” he says. Because of this new regimen, the head coach hopes that their mental and physical skills will be boosted. Apart from their new venue, the teams also engage in interval workouts to maintain their cardio and stamina to lessen injuries and exhaustion during games.
Goals and expectations
Perillo shares that the team is aiming more for individual wins. “Instead of focusing on the [general] outcome, we’re more focused on getting the gold individually,” expresses Perillo. As for Cardona, she wants to see more of the fruition of their training. “Mapakita lang yung best namin. Yung sacrifices namin sa training, malabas lang namin sa UAAP, okay na sakin yun.”
([We just want to] show them our best. As long as we show the sacrifices we made training for the UAAP, that’s good enough for me.)
For Bernales, the Green Judokas are expected to aim for a higher spot in the podium. He also discloses that he already has possible players in mind that could excel. As for the Lady Judokas, the coach reiterates that anything can happen during the tournament.
Bernales also reminds his players not to feel nervous but rather excited as they should be able to use the tournament as a great opportunity to show the product of their hard work. “Pag takot ka, yung pinaghirapan mo hindi mo mailalabas. Sila lang ang makakatulong sa sarili nila,” he says. He also claims that he doesn’t believe that people can “play the game” and “reach the top” just because of pure talent. He highlights that it will only be possible with the hard work that they will put into training.
(When you’re scared, you won’t be able to show off what you’ve worked hard for. They’re (the players) the only ones who can help themselves.)
However, the coach never forgets to tell his team that who they are in training will not entirely determine who they are in the competition. According to Bernales, there may be players who don’t excel during training sessions. Some are able to study and analyze the situations during the game itself and learn from the experiences of other players, which could help them succeed. Failures will not be the defining factor for him and his team but rather the number of times they choose to get up and fight again.
The DLSU Green and Lady Judokas are set to keep an eye on their goal and hit the mats on December 8 and 9, at the ninth floor of the Enrique Razon Sports Complex.