Paddlers storm on top halfway through the elimination round

Published on September 14th, 2014 | by DLSU Sports

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The DLSU men’s and women’s table tennis teams are on course for a double championship bid after beginning their season ahead of the pack in the opening weekend of the UAAP table tennis tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.

On Saturday, the Green Paddlers bagged comfortable 3-0 wins against UE and NU before being tested by a resilient UST team. The rematch of last year’s semifinals went in favour of DLSU by winning the team tie, 3-1. It was not an easy match however as Jerald Cristobal took five sets in winning his game. Also in five sets, Jethro Yatco slipped against his opponent. The two matches then became one-way streets with Walden Ledesma closing the night with a sweep of his opponent.

Yesterday, the champions had a more comfortable display in action after silencing FEU, Adamson, Ateneo and UP en route to a dominating 7-0 first round finish. Job is far from done for the Green Paddlers in order to retain the championship as anything can still happen in the latter stages of the season.

Green Paddlers captain Cristobal was pleased with their performance. Hoping to keep their focus intact as they approach their next games, he furthered, “Sana walang magkumpiyansa. Sana magtuloy-tuloy.” He also championed the importance of mental toughness. “Kahit lamang, huwag mawala sa game plan kasi hindi pa tapos hanggang sa umabot ng 11 (or score at the end of each set),” he voiced.

In the women’s division, the Lady Paddlers went home on Saturday undefeated. Adamson and FEU fell victim to the Lasallians’ vicious attacking barrages. Neither team managed to steal a game from the Lady Paddlers although some games were fought closely. Equipped with experience, La Salle’s women’s table tennis players were composed in finishing off their foes.

It was almost the same story the following day but the team fell to champions UP, 3-1, with Ian Lariba the sole victor in the rematch of last year’s finals. Another title contender, UST, stole a game from the Lady Paddlers but the runners-up of Season 76 overcame the threat of the Tigresses whom they defeated 3-1. NU and Ateneo suffered the same fate FEU and Adamson did a day before after getting blanked by the Lasallians, who sealed a 5-1 record at the end of the first round. They hold a slim advantage from UP and FEU after having the best quotient among the three teams. It is almost insignificant, however, as it is seen to change in the coming matches.

After a scintillating first round, Lady Paddlers skipper Lariba echoed Cristobal on mental toughness and adds that the team should aptly move on from the opening round results for them to keep their heads into the coming games. “Dapat kaming lahat nasa present moment.” She also mentioned that assessment of the other team’s performances is still inconclusive at this point as it is normally a period of experimentation.

The teams return to the Blue Eagle Gym next weekend to complete elimination round proceedings.

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