UAAP: Green, Lady Woodpushers open UAAP Season 86 with contrasting results

The DLSU Green Woodpushers opened their UAAP Season 86 campaign in juxtaposing fashion this weekend, October 14 to 15, at the FEU Tech Building with a dominant win against the AdU Soaring Falcons and a close loss to the ADMU Blue Eagles, 4-0 and 2.5-1.5, respectively. Meanwhile, the DLSU Lady Woodpushers went against the defending champion NU Lady Bulldogs and ended in a stalemate, 2-2. 

Led by Team Captain Sara Olendo, the Women’s team went into the season looking to snatch the title after falling short of a first-place finish back in Season 85. The Men’s team, who settled for a fourth-place finish last year, is now led by Team Captain Francis Xavier Guimalan. 

DLSU Coach Susan Neri emphasized correcting the mistakes from the previous season. With a longer offseason preparation, the team focused “more on mental training, and more importantly, the team chemistry,” voiced Coach Neri.

Hot start

On the first day of the weekend, former team captain Daniel John Lemi destroyed his opponent John Rocel Simon from Adamson with 29 moves on board two. On board one, senior Green Woodpusher Cyril Felrod Telesforo defeated Arena Fide Master Alfonzo Louis Olendo with 33 moves. Later on, Kris Olvido and Francis Xavier Guimalan completed the sweep for the Green and White, 4-0. 

La Salle took the provisional spot in the team standings at the end of day one as they edged out the defending champions, the UST Growling Tigers, through a tiebreaker, 4-3.5. Team Captain Guimalan shared his thoughts on the dominant win, “We don’t let that win get to our heads, especially first round pa lang, everybody’s still adjusting, not only us but also the other teams as well. It’s just the beginning, but at the same time, sweeping felt good.” 

Learning experience

The DLSU Lady Woodpushers, though, opened their season with a draw, 2-2, against defending champions NU Lady Bulldogs the next day. Team Captain S. Olendo was the lone winner against NU on board three, while Checy Aliena Telesforo and Francois Marie Magpily drew their matchup on boards one and two, respectively. S. Olendo expressed that this match against NU is one they were looking forward to. She explained, “Ni-look forward namin na parang rematch since last season we ended up tie for first with NU. So it’s really napaka-exciting for us.”

The second day was a different story for the DLSU Woodpushers, who fell against their arch rivals ADMU Blue Eagles, 2.5-1.5. Lemi won board three against Tristan Jared Cervero, while C.F. Telesforo forced a draw on board two. For Lemi, going up against their rivals Ateneo was insightful on the strength of their team, acknowledging, “Siyempre bago ‘yung lineup ng Ateneo. So ayun parang nag-beef up sila. Isang barometer kung gaano kalakas ‘yung team namin.”

(Ateneo’s lineup is fresh, so, of course, it’s like they beefed up. We use that as a barometer for how strong our team is.)

Looking ahead

Despite the results of the opening weekend of the tournament, Coach Neri is sticking to the positives. “For now, [it] is too early to see so much. This is the point in time that we [are] gauging the field and, of course, the…capacity ng team to meet the field or the required strength level of the field,” she shared.

For Green Woodpushers’ top scorer Lemi, it is back to the drawing board and reviewing past games as they go up against the men’s division’s defending champion UST Growling Tigers. S. Olendo, on the side of the Lady Woodpushers, mentioned how they need to settle down after their opening matchup, “For the adjustments right now nagka-jitters kami lahat kasi this is our first round sa UAAP…nakapag-adjust na kami for sure this upcoming week.” 

Both the Green and Lady Woodpushers will get back to action this Saturday, October 21, against the UST Growling Tigers and FEU Lady Tamaraws, respectively, at 1 pm at the FEU Tech Building.

Raphael Serrano

By Raphael Serrano

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