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UAAP: Green and Lady Paddlers place first after first round

After two days of intense table tennis action, the Green and Lady Paddlers topped the standings, sporting a 7-0 and a 6-0 record, respectively, in the recently concluded first round of the UAAP Season 75 table tennis last September 22 and 23 at the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo de Manila University.

 

The Green Paddlers amassed 14 match points, holding a one-point lead over defending champions University of Santo Tomas. Far Eastern University followed, with 12 points, to complete the top three in the Men’s Division.

 

The Lady Paddlers, on the other hand, garnered 12 match points, which gives the team a one-point advantage over last year’s title holders, the UP Lady Maroons.

 

Last season, the Green Paddlers ended second runner-up while the team’s female counterpart settled as bridesmaids.

 

Nakita ko na mas naging focused na yung mga bata at saka nakikita na talaga na gusto nilang manalo. Andun na yung drive nila, kasi dahil natalo kami last year,” said Paddlers Coach Lauro Crisostomo.

Green Paddlers’ first day surge

DLSU was put to the test during its maiden match as it locked horns with UST. La Salle’s Jethro Yatco, however, managed to get a commanding 1-0 lead.

 

Losses of Cristobal and the Ted Yu-Earvin De Pedro tandem against their UST counterparts shook the Green-and-White squad.

 

Walden Ledesma and Kenneth Yu, however, managed to renew DLSU’s confidence as they arose victorious in their singles matches to lead DLSU to a come-from-behind match win of 3-2.

 

The Green Paddlers also dominated last year’s bridesmaids, FEU, 3-1. The lone loss of DLSU came from a doubles match as Yatco, Ledesma, and Cristobal managed to sweep their opponents.

 

DLSU also made a 3-0 sweep against Ateneo de Manila University and Adamson University.

 

Different day, same results

The Green Paddlers exploited the easier matchups the following matches. The team swept University of the Philippines and National University, and dismantled University of the East, 3-1.

 

The coaching staff made some key adjustments, placing Chong We Tan instead of Team Captain Ted Yu in the men’s doubles. The Tan-de Pedro duo showed promise this year, holding a 3-1 record so far.

Lady Paddlers started dominant

The Lady Paddlers also boasted an immaculate record after a day of sweeps. The team won all three matches with 3-0 slates over all the team’s opponents.

 

The players swept all their sets except one doubles match against Adamson. Jellie Ann Yanela and Darianne Talento paired to seal the first win after a first, 7-11, set defeat. Thereafter, the pair took three straight sets to give the Lady Paddlers its first triumph.

 

One of the country’s top women paddlers Ian Lariba opened the game with three straight victorious sets. Rookie Paddler Donna Gamilla, following Lariba’s feat, she scored a 3-0 match of her own. Their wins completed DLSU’s opening game campaign against AdU.

 

In the team’s first afternoon match, the Lady Paddlers cruised over the UST Lady Tigresses. Team Captain Kimberly Medina and Lariba took charge of their singles matches, sporting a 3-0 record each. Shortly after the singles matches, Yanela and Michaela Yagin sealed the deal for the Taft-based paddlers as they finished three close sets, 11-8, 11-9, and 11-8.

 

The Lady Paddlers faced the NU Lady Bulldogs in the team’s final opening day match. Rookie Paddler Gamilla was put to the test against NU’s Rosario. After a 3-0 cruise in her debut game in the morning, Gamilla had difficulty in dispatching Rosario as she found herself down two sets to none.

 

In the third set, Rosario suffered a shoulder injury, which stopped the game. With Gamilla leading 9-5 in the third set, the match was eventually awarded to her.

 

Lariba, again easily scored a 3-0 match in her last singles game of the day. Yagin and Iris Matubis, then ended the game in a doubles encounter that yielded another 3-0 victory for the Paddlers.

 

A long triumphant day

The Lady Paddlers continued to move forward at the expense of the defending champions University of the Philippines, Far Eastern University and Ateneo De Manila University.

 

The ladies’ second run campaign kicked off with retribution against the season 74 champion UP. DLSU won, 3-2, against the titleholders after almost four hours of action.

 

Team Captain Medina delivered the first blow and emerged victorious against UP counterpart P. M. Catalan, ending the first singles in the fourth set. Then top paddler Ian Lariba overwhelmed the opposition in the second singles as she nabbed the second win for the Green-and-White squad, surpassing Villaflores in three sets.

 

The UP Lady Maroons, however, made a comeback as Yagin and Yanela could not stop Maderal and Magpantay after five sets. The Diliman-based squad proved their strength as defending champions and dealt Marcelle Galera a loss in the fifth set of the match to force a deadlock.

 

With the match at stake, Lady paddler rookie Gamilla rose to the challenge and sealed the deal for the Lady Maroons as she emerged victorious in the fourth set against Morales, ending their bout, 7-11, 11-6, 12-10, 11-8.

 

The Lady Paddlers extended its run, defeating the Lady Tamaraws, 3-2. Again tied at 2-2, Gamilla forced a 11-6, 11-6, 11-7, win, which led to the loss of the Morayta-based Paddlers.

 

Completing its unbeaten elimination record, the Lady Paddlers defeated the Lady Blue Eagles in an uncontested match, earning the Taft-based paddlers a 3-0 victory.

 

Set for tougher battles 

On September 28 and 29, Green and Lady Paddlers will try to pull off another undefeated record.

 

More photos at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151108193359760.452384.149678604759&type=3

By Jerome Alvarez

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