“Hindi magiging madali, pero lahat naman pinaghihirapan.” –Coach Owen Lopez
The Green Shuttlers had an impressive run last season but just fell short in the Finals against the undefeated National University (NU) Bulldogs.
Green Shuttlers’ return to the finals last season was one the best streaks they had. They proved that if they really want to get something, they should work for it and they did. Finishing the elimination round in second place with a 6-1 win-loss record highlighting their five game winning streak that was halted by powerhouse NU Bulldogs. They worked hard to reach the top four once again as their team captain said, “basically and target lang namin is to get on the top four palagi, yun yung goal namin.” After reaching the top of the standings, the Green Shuttlers faced rivals Ateneo in the stepladder semifinals with a twice-to-beat advantage, but there was no need to use it as they swept the defending champions 3-0. They next faced the NU Bulldogs who has been unscathed and held a thrice-to-beat advantage in the Finals. The Green Shuttlers were then swept and denied of another title by indomitable Bulldogs.
Talking on last year’s flaws, Team Captain EJ Boac mentioned that they lacked dedication to win the championship because they were overwhelmed by reaching the finals, “Last year siguro, yung kulang namin is yung dedication to win the championship kasi parang na overwhelm kami na umabot kami ng championship.”
New season is coming, stronger teams coming their way, they still believe that they can still finish in the top three and maybe even get that championship, “malakas yung team namin this season, our advantage this year is that we are more intact and especially pinaka maganda, yung recruits namin this year coming from top players ng Philippines. Meron from national team and former national team players.” said the captain.
But for him, the key for them this season would be maturity and team goal, “Siguro ang key namin is maturity and team goal.” They are more dedicated than they used to be before because of the championship that they really wanted, “Ngayon masasabi ko sa team namin is mas dedicated to train hard kasi ang target talaga namin is to win the championship. So basically nagtutulungan kami, wala kaming bakasyon this year eh, after the term last year, dire diretso kami training.”
The team did not have a graduating player last season as the whole core will be up to try and steal that crown this season. Meanwhile, NU’s top player and also the country’s best, Joper Esceuta graduated and is no longer eligible for this year.
“Siguro ang ine-expect ko is magkaroon kami ng dedication sa game and i-enjoy lang namin. Yun yung isang key eh. I-enjoy namin and no pressure. Kasi kapag na pressure kami. Dun na mawawala lahat. Mawawala yung pinaghirapan namin sa training.”
A few days before the UAAP, they are now ready and more dedicated to reach the championship. They will face the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons on September 19, 10:30am at Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. This year’s lineup is composed of EJ Boac, Anton Cayanan, Bee Monterubio, Kenneth Monterubio, Gerald Sibayan, Jerickson Obaob, and rookies Cayel Pajarillo and Andrew Pineda.