Seven long years have passed since DLSU last dominated the UAAP Table Tennis scene when they reigned champions for both the men’s and women’s categories back in Season 78. The Green Paddlers are especially aiming to reignite their supremacy and begin their bid for another three-peat, or even more in store.
While the Lady Paddlers managed to cement a four-peat legacy from Season 78 to 80, led by DLSU legends Ian Lariba and Emi Rose Dael, the team still longs to bring the glory back to Taft after being denied a finals appearance in Season 82—their lowest placement in the last decade.
With the arrival of reinforcements from champions in the junior’s division and prized recruits from other schools to support seasoned veterans, the DLSU Paddlers are hungrier than ever to restore the Lasallian pride and establish new legends this coming Season 85.
Behind the scenes
Just like any other team in the UAAP, the DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers had to adjust as they reverted to face-to-face training after being relegated to the online setup during the course of the pandemic. “Mas nagcacatch-up talaga kami sa training ngayon. Before, 6 pm yung start namin sa training, ngayon 5 pm to 9 pm, minsan aabot pa kami ng 9:30 pm,” Green Paddlers Captain Vince Remitio detailed.
(We are catching up more on training. Before, we used to start training at 6:00 pm, but now, we start as early as 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and sometimes it could go as late as 9:30 pm.)
In addition to having to adjust to the daily training sessions, student-athletes also have to juggle other responsibilities, especially academics. Lady Paddlers Co-captain Jannah Romero admits that managing these on top of leading the team as a senior could be tough at times. “Nahihirapan din ako i-handle or i-solve yun so for me I seek help sa ibang seniors, ibang teammates,” she shares. Remitio echoes her sentiments in becoming a senior figure for the team, “Gusto ko yung natural lang to guide them always na I’m here to support them at kung may problem man, pwede naman pag-usapan and maayos.”
(I struggle when it comes to handling or solving that so for me, I seek help from other seniors and teammates.)
(I want it to come out naturally when guiding them. I am always here to support them and if there are any problems, we can talk about it and fix it.)
Putting it all together
Romero expresses how she, together with the other seniors, have had to make adjustments due to having more rookies. Nevertheless, she puts trust in her teammates, seeing that they all focus and make sacrifices during their training sessions. “Lahat sila kaya magbigay ng 100 percent nila,” Romero attests.
In order to have a competitive team, building chemistry and a strong bond across all members is essential. The group gives emphasis on the importance of motivating each other, especially the seniors to the lower batches. Romero shares how she sometimes urges her teammates to do extra conditioning if they can, “Kinabukasan nakikita ko rin sila nageextra and as a captain natutuwa ako kasi dun ko nakikita yung dedication nila na ipakita kung ano meron sila.” As a veteran in the team, she always sees to it that she guides the team inside and outside of training sessions.
Going all out
With all the preparations that the team has taken and the hard work they have put in, Remitio reminds his teammates to take it one step at a time, as their biggest challenges are yet to come. “Kung during the day yung kalaban is this team, yun lang muna isipin, step-by-step lang talaga. Baby steps lang talaga hanggang ma-overcome namin yung challenges,” he expressed.
(We want to take it step by step and think only of the opponent we are playing during game day, just like baby steps until we are able to overcome the challenges.)
Meanwhile, rookie Eunice Uy Tan sees this opportunity as a chance to reap the fruits of her labor since she started training at a young age. Acknowledging that this is not an opportunity that comes by easily, she hopes to make the tough grind pay off, “The mentality that I have coming into this is that it’s really all or nothing. Of course, it takes a lot of sacrifices and there are a lot of opportunity costs with it; it’s really something that I hope will be worth it,” Tan posits.
The DLSU Green and Lady Paddlers will begin action on November 20 to 22 and 24 to 26 as they go against familiar foes in the hopes of coveting the crown and reigning supreme once again.