By Carlos dela Cruz, HS 4A
“Badminton is like ballet dancing. It requires a lot of control, strength, mind play and measured movement.”
In the Philippines, badminton has not really been the country’s bread and butter sport. In the eyes of the mainstream masses, the shuttlecock sport looms behind the shadows of more prominent local sports such as basketball and football.
Apparently however, in La Salle Green Hills it proves to be otherwise; as an action packed sport, badminton continuously awes student passers-by as they witness the school’s very own badminton specialists dancing around the court with their electrifying and air snapping smashes. It is in the school’s rubber FMAC courts where sports’ ballet, the poetry of back and forth rhythmical hits of power and speed, elusive movements, and lightning reaction times is historically made.
What makes badminton one of sports’ most graceful events is the lethal smash. The smash is regarded as the most dominant of badminton shots; it is volleyball’s spike, basketball’s three point shot, and football’s banana kick. It is the hybrid of speed and power, but what makes it lethally beautiful is how players execute it effortlessly and with such finesse. It is through this grace that opponents are tricked into obliviousness, as sharp shuttlecocks fly past their reaction space.
It is with the sweet killer smash that the La Salle Green Hills High School Badminton emerged as NCAA champions as they dominated and bedazzled the 91st Badminton tournament. Their victory over the San Beda Red Lions winning two events to zero, granted them their 7th consecutive NCAA championship, once again cementing the school’s name in the NCAA hall of fame.
The tournament took place in Powersmash Pasong Tamo Makati, starting last September 2, 2015 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday through eliminations and ending last September 14, 2015 with the finals match against the formidable Red Lions. The championship match, although expected, turned out to be the toughest one. The Badminton Greenies were tested in a back and forth singles duel, with San Beda forcing a third set.
However, San Beda’s singles player proved to be no match for the tournament’s eventual MVP, La Salle’s James Candelario of 3G. He won the event 2 sets to one. The victory game was then continued by the Lorenzo Del Rosario, the team captain, of 3C and Christopher Escobar of 10A as they swept the Red Lions in the doubles event 2 sets to 0. Winning two events in the best-of-three match-up, the LSGH badminton team emerged once again in the pinnacle of high school badminton.
When asked what the team’s key ingredient to winning was, team captain Lorenzo Del Rosario said, “What gave us the victory not only against San Beda but throughout the whole tournament was teamwork and good training programs. Good training programs [were vital] because our trainings always specialize and focuses on smashing. Coach Romy always reminded us that if we knew how to make powerful smashes, it would scare and intimidate our opponents, so basically, that’s what we did; we intimidated them with powerful smashes in order to advance through each set and win the championship.”
It seems that more than teamwork and consistent training, instilling fear proved to be the smashing specialist team’s secret weapon. In fact, as per the team captain majority of their points were won by their sharp smashes. Unfortunately, besides the team’s successful feat, they encountered initial problems during the tournament. For the first two days, team captain was out due to illness. The line-up was compromised, substitutions were made, and the rotations were spontaneously executed.
It is a good thing though that James Torres of 10B and Carlos Del Rosario of 7J were well rested and pumped up for the swaps. For the first two days the team lacked leadership, but luckily it proved not to be a hindrance as they toppled JRU (2-0), and Lyceum (2-1), and with the captain’s return, the team continued to dominate the eliminations by winning with double-digit margins and coming out as twice to beat as they fought EAC in the quarterfinals (2-1) and Letran in the semi-finals (2-0).
Throughout the tournament during the do or die singles sets, Earl Baes of 10-J proved to be the team’s salvation as he advanced the team through winning every third event.
Besides the multiple laurels of the team, Coach Romy Selga also attained honors as the head coach of the year.
Garnering their 7th consecutive championship, the team looks to continue their streak in next year’s NCAA tournament but with some reservations as stated by the team captain: “About that, we’re not yet sure. It still depends whether the other teams get new recruits, but expect us to do our best as we always do. We’ll try to get that eighth, but no expectations though.”
Future NCAA tournaments may still seem a bit dim and obscure, but this year’s champion team assures that they will have a brighter outlook and a more competitive spirit to bag the gold once again.