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Lopez still proud of La Salle despite post-season defeats

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Making it past the elimination round of a UAAP tournament is already a sign of success for any university who competes in it. Every season brings new difficulties, whether needing to rebuild a line-up, facing tougher opponents, or having plenty of off days. Just landing into the Final Four gets harder every year.

Nevertheless, the Final Four stage is almost mandatory for UAAP schools with big athletics programs, such as say, De La Salle University. Finishing in the Final Four is seen as the foundation for championships. From then on, the Finals is the target.

What holds much hope can also mean heartbreak for a season. Getting knocked out in the Final Four is painful for any school but losing in the Finals is worse. The UAAP has become such a high pressure league for many students, alumni and athletes, that losing at those points in the season sometimes makes everything feel and look like a failure.

It isn’t, though: it should be more than that. While championships may define what success is these days in the UAAP, just playing your hearts out for your school, even with academic obligations, and reaching the post-season should be something to be proud of.

Take the DLSU Badminton Team for example. For all the heartaches they felt after the elimination round in Season 78, they’ve got a lot to be proud of just by putting themselves in a position where glory was possible.

Lady Archers fall at the hands of Ateneo

 

Losing to another school in the Final Four despite having a twice-to-beat advantage is a painful experience. It’s worse if you’ve been beaten twice by your rival school. Such is the unpredictability in the UAAP that any so-called advantage can be ruined in such dramatic fashion.

This season, Ateneo Beat La Salle two straight times to earn a place in the UAAP Season 78 Women’s Badminton Tournament finals against UP. The Lady Archers lost both ties 1-3 to the Lady Eagles.

DLSU coach Owen Lopez can only rue the fact that his team got knocked out by Ateneo. “Syempre alam mo naman tayong Lasalista, yung ka-rival rin natin ang tumalo sa atin at twice-to-beat pa tayo. Yun yung sinasabi ko sa kanila nung umpisa pa lang na tipong mas masakit kung twice beaten”

Lopez tinkered with the lineup the night before the tie and admits that it was just simply Ateneo’s day. He adds that he and his team were expecting the contest to reach five games but they just weren’t able to force it to that point.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Lopez still proud of La Salle despite post-season defeats

One of the adjustments of Lopez was to pair up Kristelle Salatan and Aires Montilla in the first doubles match. “Actually ako na yung mag decide ng ganun kasi siyempre kahit anomang isipin natin, yung Aires-Kristelle matagal na nagpapartner yan since grade school pa lang.” Lopez adds that while he allows his players to give him recommendations, the final decisions are made by him. He wants to see his players prove that they want to win on the court.

Regardless of the result, Lopez only had good things to say about his Lady Archers. “Sobrang proud naman ako sa team ko kasi hanggang sa huli lumaban sila eh. Nagkataon lang na sa third match naiwanan sila. So yun lang. I hope na natuto sila. Sure ako paghahandaan namin yung susunod na season dahil wala naman mawawala sa team.”

Green Archers bow down to NU in the Finals

 

Although the Green Archers made short work of the Blue Eagles during their UAAP Season 78 Men’s Badminton Tournament Final Four clash, the former was swept in the Finals 3-0 and 3-1 by the NU Bulldogs.

It was a sad end to the Green Archers’ season with the Bulldogs virtually outplaying them in their Finals series. With the tough task to beat the NU Bulldogs, who themselves had a thrice-to-beat advantage, Lopez was still happy with how his players performed in the Finals. “Siyempre proud ako sa kanila dahil alam naman namin na malakas ang NU. Basta ako lang ang advise ko lang sa kanila: hanggang huli lumaban tayo kasi deserving kayo mag finals eh tapos one game at a time.”

“Magfocus lang. No pressure. Enjoy. Kung manalo man kami, bonus na yun eh”, Lopez reiterated.

Kenneth Monterubio was the sole Archer to win a tie in the Finals series. He was up against long-time rival and eventual UAAP Season 78 Rookie of the Year awardee Keeyann Gabuelo. It took Monterubio three games to beat Gabuelo in a thrilling contest.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Lopez still proud of La Salle despite post-season defeats

Lopez only had praise for Monterubio following his win. He disclosed that he told Monterubio that he should feel no pressure and just enjoy the game. Lopez added, “Ang inaadvise ko sa kanya is laruin kung ano ang dapat tapos sinasabi ko lang sa kanya marami tayong shots napapatay dito so adjust na lang. So yun naman at least nakinig at sabi ko sa kanya, kung experience wise lamang siya talaga.”

Overall, Lopez was happy with how the season panned out for his Green Archers. “Siyempre pinaghandaan naman kasi nila talaga yun pati yung oras, pagsabayin ang aral at laro so sobrang ok for the overall performance for the whole year”. He then noted that, aside from Gerald Sibayan who had played out his eligibility this season, the Green Archers are mostly intact for next season.

Looking forward to Season 79

 

After a successful Season 78, for most coaches the planning for a better Season 79 starts the day after their last fixture. Lopez notes, “Yung Womens mas maghahanda kami para sa susunod na season. Yun yung paghahandaan namin lalo kasi wala naman mawawala sa Womens ko. Sa Mens ko si Gerald lang naman so mag-aadjust kami lahat.”

Still, Lopez will take his time in determining who gets into the line-up for next season, and is holding his cards close to his chest. “Grades muna. Magfocus muna kami sa aral. Kung bubuuin namin yung team tapos may biglang hindi makakalaro, basta sabi ko lang sa kanila focus muna kami lahat sa aral, balik kami sa aral tapos saka na namin hahandaan ulit yung sino malalagay sa line-up next season.”

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Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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