The first round of the UAAP Season 82 Badminton Tournament is set to begin tomorrow, September 18, at the Centro Atletico Badminton Court. Both the Green and Lady Shuttlers are looking to improve their standings from last season, wherein they finished fourth and third, respectively.
With rosters filled with experienced veterans, improved sophomores, and coupled with the addition of talented rookies, both teams are entering the season with the same mindset—to take things one game at a time. The LaSallian sat down with Green Shuttlers team captain Emilio Mangubat, Lady Shuttlers team captain Iyah Sevilla, and head coach Owen Lopez to discuss their preparations for the tournament ahead and the changes the teams underwent during the off-season.
On team preparation
For the upcoming season, both teams focused on developing three main aspects: their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Mangubat explained how they applied this to their training, “Sa physical namin, given naman yun sa [daily] training sessions namin kasi sobrang rigid. Sa emotional [and] mental strength namin, mayroon kaming team sessions na provided [by the Office of Sports Development] para matulungan kung paano namin ma-motivate yung sarili namin, at para mag-reflect kami individually ang mga roles namin.”
(With our physical aspect, that’s a given since we go through rigid training everyday. As for our emotional and mental strength, teams sessions were provided to help us motivate ourselves and individually reflect on our roles.)
This year, three rookies—namely Clark Golez, Yugin Tan, and Joshua Morada—joined the Green Shuttlers. Mangubat expressed that, since last season’s roster has been kept intact, he believes that the rookies have only strengthened the team further.
On the other hand, the Lady Shuttlers bolstered their lineup with four rookies; namely, Palma Cruz, Shaynne Boloron, Katrina Togado, and Mia Manguilimotan. Sevilla is confident that the rookies will help bring the team to greater heights, “Maraming nawala pero mas maraming rookies na pumasok. Majority of the lineup [is composed of] rookies this year, pero para sa akin, napalitan naman yung mga [nawalang] seniors.”
(We lost a lot of players, but we have more rookies that came in. Majority of the lineup is composed of rookies this year, but for me, they replaced the pieces that we lost with the seniors.)
However, the Lady Shuttlers will be missing the services of Season 80 Most Valuable Player Nicole Albo due to her training for the upcoming SEA Games, which will conflict with the scheduled UAAP matches. Lopez disclosed that he had no qualms with permitting Albo to join the national team, “Pinayagan namin siya because representing your country is a privilege.”
Looking back and treading forward
The Lady Shuttlers failed to defend their title last year, as they only settled for a semi-final finish, falling to the first-seeded UP Lady Maroons in that competition. Despite last season’s setback, Sevilla remains meticulous in her plans to gain back that championship glory. “Primary goal talaga, to get the gold. Pero for me, yung mindset ko muna is [makapasok] yung team sa Final Four. Siyempre, step by step naman talaga yun,” she affirmed.
(Our primary goal is really to get the gold. But for me, our mindset is for our team enter the Final Four. Of course, it will have to be done step by step.)
The Green Shuttlers, on the other hand, had a roller coaster ride of a season. They ended their Season 81 campaign with a 3-3 win-loss record, just enough for them to lock in Final Four contention. Albeit falling short of the championship, their standing improved to one place higher than in the previous season. This has only served to ignite the team’s determination to reach out and claim a loftier prize—the championship—this time around.
Team captain Mangubat has faith that his team will work together to compete against the best. “I trust in every one of them and [in] their capabilities naman, so I am not expecting. Wala akong ine-expect sa kanila; ang gusto ko lang is enjoy nila yung game and to give their best for the school,” he emphasized.
(I trust in every one of them and in their capabilities, so I am not expecting. I am not expecting anything from them; I just want them to enjoy the game and to give their best for the school.)
With all eyes fixed on the championship gold, both captains are coming into the season with confidence brought by the diligent preparation done during the previous summer. Sevilla explained that there is no easy road to winning a championship, “It’s always going to be tough, it’s not going to be easy pero I believe na we prepared for it; we prepared for the tournament. Whatever the results may be, we’re [going to] play for La Salle.”
The Green Shuttlers open their season against the AdU Soaring Falcons at 8 am at the Centro Atletico Badminton Court, while the Lady Shuttlers will kick start their campaign against the UST Golden Tigresses at 1 pm at the same venue.