Female Athlete of the Year: Yan Lariba

Yan Lariba’s table tennis career can be summed up with one word: champion. After an eventful five-year run with the DLSU Lady Paddlers, not only has Lariba accomplished things many athletes could only dream of, but she has also taken her game to another level with each passing season to go along with the titles she clinched with her team.

A native of Cagayan de Oro City, Lariba made an immediate impact when she entered the UAAP in 2011. She was named Season 74 Rookie of the Year after an excellent freshman season. The following year, she helped steer La Salle to their first championship in seven years. For her performance, she was given the Most Valuable Player award for that season.

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Lariba then spearheaded the Lady Paddlers to a perfect elimination round record in Season 76. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize on their thrice-to-beat advantage as they lost the crown to the UP Lady Maroons, a moment that would further ignite her competitive spirit. With Lariba still at the frontline for her team, two more table tennis titles came in for DLSU in Seasons 77 and 78. She was crowned MVP both times for having the best individual record among the competing players.

The finance major capped off her UAAP career with an unblemished record, winning all of her individual matches. In addition to this, Lariba was also given the UAAP Athlete of the Year Award in 2015, a distinction given to varsity players who excelled inside and outside of league competition. All in all, her five-year stint with the Green-and-White produced a total of three championships and three MVP awards.

Due to her outstanding individual prowess, the team captain was chosen to represent the Philippines in several tournaments abroad. Her first great achievement in the international arena came in 2014, when she, along with DLSU teammate Jane Sy, won first place in the fourth division of the World Table Tennis Championship held in Tokyo, Japan.

The 22-year-old wasn’t done making her mark donning the Philippine colors. Just recently, in what might be the biggest accomplishment in her athletic career to date, she qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics after her strong performance in the ITTF-Asian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Hong Kong earlier this year. Lariba will be the first Filipino to participate in the Table Tennis event in the Olympics since it was first introduced in 1988.

Ultimately, Lariba has enshrined herself as one of De La Salle University’s greatest players, even if she has yet to graduate from the school, for showcasing not only her excellence as a varsity athlete, but also for being a model student for everyone to look up to.


Honorable mentions: Kim Fajardo (Women’s Volleyball), Marinel Rudas (Women’s Tennis), Ara Galang (Women’s Volleyball)


Josef Fuentebella

By Josef Fuentebella

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