UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Shuttlers

(Photo by Jed Aquino) The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Shuttlers were brimming with hope as they entered UAAP Season 81. After all, they became successful in breaking a seven-year championship drought and bringing the gold back to Taft Avenue in Season 80. The celebration, however, could not extend for one more year as the squad fell flat in retaining the title and instead settled for a third place finish.

The Lady Shuttlers now look to complete a mission they failed as they enter Season 82. With a lineup composed of young and promising athletes, the Green-and-White have never been hungrier in meeting one goal: to win the championship once more.

OVERCOMING PRESSURE

“Nung Season 80, champion sila. Tapos nung Season 81, nag second runner-up na lang. Ang hirap din kasi nung pressure, galing ka sa champion,” admitted head coach Owen Lopez. He continued, “May time na minsan, may nagcho-choke.”

The soft-spoken mentor bared that motivating the Lady Shuttlers and giving them the extra push in knowing how to handle the pressure on their shoulders are the biggest things that the coaching staff had to handle. “Kailangan namin masabihan para ma-motivate pa sila kung ano ba talaga yung goals ng team,” he shared.

MISSING PIECES

The Taft-based squad lost several veterans last season owing to graduation and maxing out of eligibility. This left the team with a huge void that was filled by new and inexperienced faces.

Iyah Sevilla is aware of this but keeps her squad inspired despite the departure of some former teammates. “It happens every year naman, that’s why it isn’t a big deal anymore,” mentioned Sevilla.

LEADING THE PACK

Sevilla, the only graduating player for the Lady Shuttlers, will be taking on the captain duties for a team composed of rookies and sophomores. “I try to console and talk to them (rookies) now and help them prepare for the upcoming season,” she added.

The team also spent extra time together after training to improve their relationship. “Our team sessions helped us prepare ourselves mentally. It strengthened our bond as a team.” She continued, “We eat together after training, and go out and hang.”

As Sevilla consumes her last playing year, she believes that it is the best time for her to give the best version of herself. The pride of Santa Maria, Bulacan stated, “It is my last playing year, that’s why I intend to give my best shot in every game that I will play.”

She vows to support her teammates until the end of the season. ” We will do our very best and fight for the Green-and-White with pride and camaraderie.”

DEFINING EXPECTATIONS

Meanwhile, as the Lady Shuttlers are a day away from their UAAP Season 82 debut, Lopez believes that their offseason preparations were enough. However, he mentioned that the pairings were the most difficult adjustment. “Yun (pairings) yung pinaka-mahirap eh. Kahit hindi sila mag-usap tapos pag naglaro sila ay may connection.” Nonetheless, he stressed that for the meantime, the players should still enjoy the games.

Keeping in mind that there is always a room for improvement, the long-time head coach manages his expectations. “We will do our best. Ayaw naman namin na mabigyan ng pressure yung mga players, pero siyempre alam naman nila (kung) ano yung main goal ng team.”

The DLSU Lady Shuttlers will start their quest tomorrow, September 18, 1 PM as they go against the UST Golden Tigresses at the Centro Athletico Badminton Court.

UAAP Season 82 Team Preview: DLSU Green Shuttlers

(Photo by Jed Aquino) Poised to redeem themselves after coming off a lackluster finish in the preceding season, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Shuttlers had a hot opening to start the UAAP Season 81. Their inspired campaign had all the indications of a podium finish, if not a championship. They started with a victory, before winning two of their next three.

However, what looked to be a promising season ended up in a heartbreak. Instead, the Taft-based squad absorbed a premature exit despite a strong showing from then graduating team captain Cayel Pajarillo. They lost to the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles in the first step ladder match to finish the season at fourth.

DLSU Green Shuttlers in Season 81: finished the eliminations 4-2, lost to ADMU to finish 5th

With their campaign underway, the Green Shuttlers come into Season 82 with a renewed sense of focus as well as a new set of personnel.

LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY

Their disappointing finish despite a strong start reflected the Green Shuttlers’ inconsistency last season. None other than head coach Owen Lopez himself noted, “Sometimes ang nangyayari sa amin is malakas sa umpisa, biglang nawawalan ng dulo.” But, Lopez also added that the team worked on it during the offseason.

NEW FACES

Holdovers: Eljee Gavile, Bless Linaban, Andrew Pineda

Additions: Hanz Bernardo, Clark Golez, Jan-e Mangubat, Joshua Morada, Yugin Tan

Departures: Louie Kharial, Paolo Malabanan, Cayel Pajarillo

With the departure of some seniors including Pajarillo, the Green Shuttlers will now rely on some new faces to help lift the team this season. The Taft-based squad had two key additions in the offseason in former Blue Eagles Hanz Bernardo and Jan-e Mangubat. The latter will be taking the mantle as the team captain.

Despite not playing last season after serving a year of residency, Mangubat had been actively observing from the sidelines and taking notes of the team’s struggles. “From what I observed from the previous season, the team lacked consistency, relationship, and acceptance.” Mangubat, who will be bringing in to the team his rich UAAP experience, stressed the importance of the team believing in one another as well as having the confidence to stay consistent. He added, “We should have the composure and confidence for us to be consistent all throughout the season.”

Bernardo and Mangubat were part of the Ateneo team that eliminated the Green Shuttlers in the quarterfinals three years ago. The same Blue Eagles team went on to the Finals, but lost to National University.

EXPECTATIONS AND OUTLOOK

With Season 82 just around the corner, Lopez is hopeful that his squad will be more prepared and can finish with a better standing. He acknowledges the huge pressure on his players, but is confident that they will do their best and move towards the team’s goals. “Ayaw naman namin na mabigyan ng pressure yung mga players, pero siyempre alam naman nila (kung) ano yung main goal ng team,” the amiable tactician said.

The DLSU Green Shuttlers will face the ADU Soaring Falcons tomorrow, September 18, 8 AM the Centro Athletico Badminton Court.