UAAP Season 79 Team Preview: Green Paddlers
Published on October 5th, 2016 | by Karl Eugene Pamat
The De La Salle University Green Paddlers took charge and breezed through the rest of the Men’s Table Tennis tournament as they clinched their third straight championship in the UAAP Season 78.
A minor setback erased
Last season, the Green Paddlers experienced a slight bump in the road as they were foiled by UST in their opening game of the season. However, the team recovered right away and swept their remaining games showing consistency throughout the tournament.
The Green Paddlers finished on top of the standings with a 13-1 win-loss record and outdueled their semi-finals and finals’ opponent NU and UST, respectively, in straight games.
“Nagfocus ako ngayon more on skills and pinalakas ko rin yung physical conditioning nila,” said Coach Lauro Crisostomo about the adjustments that he made in the men’s team prior to this season.
Key losses and additions
Coming into this season, the Green Paddlers will be parading new faces in the tournament. They will be missing the services of UAAP Season 78 MVP and Rookie of the Year Walden Ledesma and Carlo Mateo, respectively. The team will be consisted of a different core this season as some key players graduated already while some left due to personal reasons.
However, the Green Paddlers minimized the effect of this minor blow by adding players from their training pool and former De La Salle Zobel standout Nathan Siasico.
When asked about how the present players will fill the void of the team, Coach Lauro acclaimed, “Medyo mahirap kasi yung limang players [key losses] na yun, yun yung key players ko. Pero yung mga natira confident naman ako na mapunan nila yung limang nawala through training.”
Despite the losses that their team experienced, team captain Ralph Nones remained positive and called for hard work and support from his teammates coming to this season, “As captain, gusto ko lang makita na magtulungan kami then siguro mag-effort kami para madefend yung title this season.”
A boost in the team
Earlier this year, the Green Paddlers represented the Philippines in the 18th ASEAN University held in Singapore. The team gained valuable exposure for the upcoming UAAP season despite being unsuccessful in bringing home a medal back to the country.
“Malaking bagay para sa amin yun bago mag UAAP kasi marami kaming napulot. Pero yung team naman lumaban and skills nakapulot rin kami don tapos yung mga techniques rin,” as Coach Lauro recalled their performance in the biennial tournament.
New season, new rivalries
A new season is coming and as the Green Paddlers improve their game play, other teams also gain something from the off-season but Coach Lauro is confident that his boys can salvage the championship once again despite the absence of his previous key players.
“Gamitin nila yung mga napulot naming sa international competition. Gamitin rin nila yung inspiration na iniwan ng seniors nila,” as Coach Lauro said his dedications to the team.
Team captain Ralph Nones invites the Lasallian community to watch their games and delivered, “Expect nila na pag-iigihan naming ang madefend ang title at mauwi pa rin naman ang trono dito sa La Salle.”
Catch the Green Paddlers in their attempt to vanquish their opponents on the road to an elusive four-peat championship on October 8 at the Blue Eagle Gym in Ateneo de Manila University.
In collaboration with Tricia Cruz