Gabutin to lead rookie-laden Lady Paddlers back on podium

FEU Advocate
November 11, 2019 14:28

Charging for the Lady Paddlers one last time, Far Eastern University (FEU) team captain Reigan Mae Gabutin is now ready to face the pressure and challenges as she heads to her final stint in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 women’s table tennis tournament.

Aiming to redeem their lost podium finish, skipper Gabutin was tasked to tame the rookie-laden line up of the team for another year. Getting all the attention on her hands, she is being expected to perform doubled efforts in every aspect.

“Sobrang pressure ako kasi dala mo ‘yung buong team, sa’yo nakasalalay na dapat makapuntos ka every game. Makapag bigay ka ng puntos, dapat ikaw mag-motivate (I am really pressured since I am carrying the team. I am expected to produce a point in every game and motivate the team),” she stated.

An extra challenge was also put on the Bukidnon-native paddler as she and a sophomore player will be the only ones who will banner the green-and-gold colors with experience of playing in this type of league.

“Lahat ng teammates ko puro bago, dalawa lang [ang] seniors. I mean ‘yung pangalawa sophomore pa lang [tas] ako lang ‘yung fifth year (All of my teammates are new, there are only two seniors. I mean the other one is only a sophomore, and I’m the only fifth year),” said Gabutin.

In preparation for a redemption battle, the Lady Paddlers wasted no time in their almost 10 months of intense training. Gabutin shared that instead of putting too much pressure among themselves, she reminds her team to just enjoy every game.

Minomotivate ko sila araw-araw. Sinasabihan ko sila na ‘wag ma-pressure. I-enjoy lang ‘yung laro kasi karamihan sa amin rookies (I motivate them every day. I always tell them to set aside the pressure and just enjoy the game since most of them are rookies),” she said.

She then added, “‘Pag na-pressure [ang] isang player, ‘di lalabas ‘yung hundred percent sa game. Kaya ang ginagawa ko tinatrain ko sila ‘pag dating sa match play (When a player gets pressured, it will hinder their hundred-percent during the game. So I train them when it comes to a match play).”

Despite the new line up, Gabutin said that the advantage of having this roster is that their opponents will face a new set of players compared last season, yet the downside will still be handling the tension.

“‘Yung advantage, new player ang makakalaban nila this season. Ang downside ay ‘yung pressure nga. Normal naman kabahan pero dapat ma-handle nila ‘yung pressure (The advantage is that our opponents will face new players this season. The downside is the pressure. It’s normal to be nervous but they should be able to handle it),” she said.

With a new season well underway, the FEU Lady Paddlers are determined to showcase their skills and the results of their non-stop training during the offseason to bring the lost podium finish back to the gates of Morayta.

“Tiwala lang, tiwala sa palo mo. ‘Wag matakot ilabas ang skills (Trust your stroke. Don’t be afraid to show your skills),” Gabutin ended.

-Joaquin Luis E. Quesada & Trisha Marie L. Abuyan