The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Paddlers opened their UAAP Season 81 campaign with a five-match win, 3-1, 3-1, 2-3, 1-3, 3-2, against Far Eastern University (FEU) on Saturday, September 22 at the University of the Philippines (UP) Gym.
Later in the same day, they followed it up with a 1-3 loss, 2-3, 3-2, 2-3, 0-3, to National University (NU).
On the other hand, the DLSU Lady Paddlers emerged triumphant in their first two outings after making quick work of FEU, 3-0, 3-0, 3-1, and routing University of the East in four sets, 3-0, 3-0, 2-3, 3-1.
Green Paddlers Game 1: vs FEU
La Salle got the momentum early in their campaign as they swiftly mounted a 2-0 lead following Daniel Ocon and team captain Tarak Cabrido’s four-set wins against FEU’s Angcos and Villanueva, respectively.
Then, the pair of Green Paddler veteran Edhric Eder and rookie Patrick Pasumbal took a 2-1 cushion over the combination of Tamaraws Lara and Sombilon in their doubles match. Entering the fourth set, however, the former lost grip of their momentum as the latter made them pay. The Tamaraws kept their hopes alive by claiming the fourth and fifth sets, 13-11 and 11-5, respectively, and eventually the match.
The Green Paddlers remained silent as another first-year player in Vince Remitio could not deliver the goods to Taft. He trailed for most of the time in his opening set, before dominating the next period. While he was on the verge of winning the third set at 11-10, FEU’s Siachua strung three straight points to steal the set from him, 13-11.
In the deciding match, Josiah Espinosa, one more of the team’s four rookies, avoided a meltdown in Set 1 after leading FEU’s Santiago, 9-7, near the end of the set. The latter came back and was able to snatch the driver’s seat, 10-9. Nonetheless, Espinosa connected three consecutive points to seal it for La Salle, 12-10. He then stormed back from down four, 6-10, to slowly steal the second period from Santiago, 14-12. The Tamaraws charged in the third set to get on the match scoreboard, but Espinosa finished Santiago and FEU’s chances in the final set.
Green Paddlers Game 2: vs NU
Marwin Eder, the last of the four rookies of the Green Paddlers, started the first match of the team in the second tie. Eder got off to a smooth start in the opening period, playing seesaw with NU’s Ramiro and even posting a 2-1 match lead after three sets. But, as soon as the defending champions stepped on the gas, the rookie could not catch up and fell short in the fourth and fifth sets, 4-11 and 5-11, respectively.
Cabrido lost two tightly contested sets in his match against Sinchongco, 10-12, 9-11, but that did not keep him from coming up big in the next sets. The Green Paddlers team captain raced to a hot start in the third canto to quickly pull himself to within one set, 11-8. Then, with another close finish brewing in the fourth set, Cabrido did not allow his opponent to force an extension of the period, knocking him at 11-9. He finished Sinchongco early in the deciding set after waxing seven quick points to only one from the latter.
Stakes were high in the third match as the winner would claim the pivotal 2-1 game lead. La Salle’s combination of Nathan Siasico and Remitio and NU’s couple of Celeridad and Mogol were in a tug of war as the two teams exchanged wins in their five-set match. The Season 80 champions NU claimed the first and third sets, while the Season 79 champions DLSU took the second and fourth frames. However, it was the former who outgunned the latter in the deciding set, 6-11, to take the 2-1 game lead.
La Salle just completely surrendered to the reigning champions in the fourth set as Daniel Ocon had no answer to Diez of NU. Ocon lost to Diez in straight sets, 5-11, 7-11, 5-11.
Lady Paddlers Game 1: vs FEU
Jannah Romero started off the title defense for the Lady Paddlers with a dominating victory in her singles match against FEU’s Talay, 11-8, 11-4, 11-1. Then, Erny Dael gave La Salle a commanding 2-0 game lead after pouncing on Verano in another straight-set match, 11-2, 11-5, 11-4.
The duo of Lady Paddlers veteran Ina Co and rookie Kimberly Sorongon claimed the first set, 11-5, of their doubles match versus FEU’s Alzado and Sacay before losing Set 2, 7-11. However, they bounced back by claiming two more sets, 11-7, 11-7, to clinch the third match and ultimately the victory for La Salle.
Lady Paddlers Game 2: vs UE
Coming off an impressive sweep of the Lady Tamaraws, the defending champions picked up where they left off after quickly mounting a commanding 2-0 game lead against the Lady Warriors. Romero and Dael each swept UE’s Vasquez and Garrucho, respectively.
The combo of Lady Paddlers team captain Kimberly Lumenda and Caressha Bernaldez took a 2-0 match lead over their counterparts Abello and Lague. Curiously in the succeeding sets, the two just completely lost their direction to sweeping UE. With a 10-8 lead in the third canto, they were shut down while Abello and Lague were able to sneak three unanswered points to steal the set. In the fourth and fifth sets, the duo never even tasted the lead when it mattered the most.
Fortunately, they could still afford one more set as Jhoana Go rushed to a two to none match lead over UE’s San Agustin. The Lady Warrior was able to strike a set against Go, but the Lady Paddler ended her hopes of forcing a do-or-die in the fourth set, 11-7.
The DLSU Green Paddlers will face Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the East (UE) tomorrow, 8 AM and 1 PM, respectively, at the same venue. Each of the three universities has identical 1-1 records.
On the other hand, the DLSU Lady Paddlers will face UP and Adamson University (AdU) also tomorrow, 8 AM and 1 PM, respectively, at the same venue. Each of the three universities likewise has identical 1-1 slates.