- May 22, 2023 06:40
From a heartbreaking seventh place to a bronze podium last year, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraw Paddlers are all set to step up their A-game in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 men’s table tennis tournament.
Unexpected but well-earned – this would be the best way to describe the team’s campaign last season. FEU captain Drazevik Angcos recalled that it was a journey of braveness and hardwork in coping the team’s two major setbacks – not having a star player and being the league’s underdogs.
“Kasi [if] compare mo kami sa ibang team talaga, kami lang ‘yung team na walang star player. Lamang lang namin last year [eh] matatapang kami (Compared to the other teams, we were the only team who had no star player. Our edge was that we were brave),” Angcos said.
Moreover, aside from eyeing to improve their second runner-up finish last year, the green-and-gold paddlers are also vying to end its championship drought since 2009.
“‘Yung team po, ine-aim [din] po namin wholeheartedly na ibalik ‘yung crown sa Morayta kasi 2009 pa ‘yung last championship ng team eh (The team also wholeheartedly aims to bring the crown back to Morayta since the last championship of the team was in 2009),” he said.
After the tourney was moved from September-October to November, the squad was given at least 60 more days to strengthen their paddle-smashing and to give Morayta another chance of glory.
Alongside this long window of waiting and improving, FEU Paddlers tweaked a few things to stay sharp, shifting their three-day training into five. Angcos shared that he conditions his team with stories from last season – a way of motivating the rookies to step up in the big stage for this season.
“Ginawa kong example nangyari sa’kin last year. Kulelat ako sa first round [pero] lumaban pa rin ako. Ginawa kong example ‘yun sa kanila… at nakakuha pa rin kami ng bronze (I used as an example what happened to me last year. I was at the bottom at first round, but I still fought. I used that as an example to them… and we still got a bronze [finish]),” Angcos ended.
Amidst the podium expectations, the Morayta-based paddlers will aim to perform better and hungrier with their ‘Be Brave’ mentality as they seek to fulfill another season’s promise for the green-and-gold community.
-Carlo Angelo Sarabia & Angela Anne V. Lara