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UAAP: DLSU Green, Lady Paddlers stun foes, hold third, second posts

Tightening their hold on the coveted Final Four slots, the DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers improved to 7-5 and 10-2 win-loss records, respectively, as they dispatched both of their assignments today, November 17, at the ADMU Blue Eagle Gym.

Dropping only one set in two outings, the Green Paddlers maintained a two-way tie at third with the AdU Soaring Falcons after drubbing them, 3-1, and sweeping the UP Fighting Maroons, 3-0. The Lady Paddlers stood gallantly alongside the ADMU Lady Eagles at second in the standings, just behind the UST Golden Tigresses’ 11 wins and one loss, after clobbering the NU Lady Bulldogs, 3-1, and UE Lady Warriors, 3-0. 

Seize the day

The Green Paddlers were up against the UP Fighting Maroons in their morning matchup. Team captain Tarak Cabrido dominated the first game after defeating Fighting Maroon Elijah Cagas, posting a score of 12-10, 11-7, 11-8.

Lasallian Marwin Eder rode the momentum in the second game, as he crushed all three sets against UP’s Ricky Lim, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9.

For the doubles matchup, Green-and-White duo Christian Crisostomo and Daniel Ocon battled it out against the formidable Elishah Cagas and Earl Rusto of the UP Fighting Maroons in five sets, 11-9, 4-11, 7-11, 16-14, 11-3.

With the morning battles finished, the team had to reorient themselves and retain their focus for the upcoming afternoon games. As T. Cabrido explained, “‘Yung laban namin kanina maganda naman pinakita, pero para sa akin kulang pa kasi ‘yung mga susunod na three matches super important sa amin ‘yun kasi ayun ‘yung magdidikta kung makakapasok kami sa Final Four.”

(We fought well in our morning matchup, but I feel that this was not enough. The next three matches will be super important for us because these will determine whether we will enter the Final Four picture.)

The afternoon festivities started off on the wrong foot as DLSU’s Koby Cabrido suffered a painful defeat against AdU’s Jed Villaviray, 4-11, 11-5, 5-11, 8-11. K. Cabrido was unable to wrest control of the match against Villaviray, who imposed his will on the hapless Green Paddler. Throughout the game, K. Cabrido was able to wrestle the momentum in his favor by ending the second set on a 6-0 run. However, Villaviray was able to earn the first match point by reclaiming the lead in the succeeding sets with a dominant display of smashes from left to right. 

The second match intensified the Animo spirit within Green Paddler Eder as he fought an intense battle against Adamson’s Paolo Monforte, tallying a 3-2 result in five sets, 14-12, 12-14, 5-11, 11-5, 11-9. It was a nip-and-tuck affair with the first two sets going to an extension. The intensity was still at a high until the fifth set with the hits going back-and-forth. Eder ended the match with an excellent smash down the line that left Monferte no chance to keep the ball in play. 

The pair of Crisostomo and Ocon put on a dominant display in the third with a convincing three-set victory over AdU’s CJ Balanquit and Vlad Rarama, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3. Their energy and focus in this game was top notch with the foes failing to even grab a set from the Green Paddlers. 

It paved the way for team captain T. Cabrido to officially clinch the win for the Green-and-White with a decisive triumph over the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 11-2, 10-12,12-10, 11-9. 

The team captain reiterated that his team should not get complacent with their victories, “Ngayon, nasa winning momentum [kami] so feel ko pataas nang pataas yung morale namin [at] kailangan magtuluy-tuloy. Manalo kami sana ng dalawang panalo ulit bukas, [makakapasok] kami sa Final Four na mataas ‘yung morale.”

(Now that we have the winning momentum, I feel our morale has been increasing, and we have to keep this up. By winning both of our games tomorrow, we will be able to enter the Final Four with high morale.)

Smashing at second

Gunning to take possession of the twice-to-beat advantage, the DLSU Lady Paddlers prevailed over NU, 3-1, and UE, 3-0, to retain their position at second with a 10-2 win-loss slate alongside the ADMU Lady Eagles.  

Lady Paddler Rein Teodoro sparked the Lasallian squad’s confidence after opening a 3-1 win over Lady Bulldog Gycel Castro, 11-5, 11-7, 9-11, 11-2. However, Denice Cai was unable to sustain DLSU’s momentum as she bowed out in three sets at the hands of NU’s Rushel Garcia, 4-11, 7-11, 6-11. Kimberly Sorongon and Jasmine Tan quickly returned the favor for La Salle as they swept Romelyn Pacquiao and Trisha Guanco, 11-6, 11-8, 12-10. 

With a 2-1 set advantage, Lady Paddler Jhoanna Go eroded NU’s chance for a comeback with a commanding triumph over Amiel Sazon, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7. 

Asserting their superiority as the second-seeded team, the Taft-based roster trounced the UE Lady Warriors in three sets to maintain their standing as the elimination round neared its end. Teodoro missed the first set against Athens Saldua but took the remaining three to give La Salle the upper hand, 10-12, 12-10, 11-6, 11-6. 

Meanwhile in the second singles rubber, Go slowly closed in after trailing four points in the last set and outlasted Celina Vasquez in an extension, 12-10, 7-11, 12-10, 6-11, 12-10. 

Delivering the final blow, Sorongon and Tan breezed through UE Lady Warriors duo Michelle Abello and Sandy Dimaala, 11-5, 11-7, 13-11, giving the Green-and-White two more victories to boost their win-loss record. 

Lady Paddlers team captain Chantal Alberto reiterated the team’s need to showcase their best at every game, “Although we won there’s still a lot to work on. For example, yung attitude [during] games—whoever you play against—dapat yung eagerness to win, it still has to be very high.”

Hungry state of mind

The team captains of both divisions expressed the desire to end the tournament on a high note. Alberto shared, “I want them to really play their heart out as in buhos na kasi we prepared for a year—more than a year for this for UAAP—so I just want them to give their all. The eagerness to win has to go up talaga like more than a hundred percent.”

Cabrido had similar sentiments, “Our mindset sa susunod na games ay kailangan namin magtrabaho, kailangan lahat mag-step up. Although individual nga [ang] laban, kailangan collective ‘yung panalo.” 

(We need to step up our mindset for these future games; the team needs to improve on their work ethic. Even though the games are played individually, the win should be collective.)

The DLSU Lady Paddlers will be looking to overcome the FEU Lady Tamaraws and the UP Lady Maroons tomorrow, November 18, to snag the twice-to-beat advantage for the semifinals on Tuesday, November 19. Meanwhile, the Green Paddlers must not succumb to the ADMU Blue Eagles and fifth-seeded UE Red Warriors in their games tomorrow to avoid a possible tie at fourth with the latter. 

The matchups will still be held at the ADMU Blue Gym, which will mark the end of the elimination round. 

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