The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Blazing Paddlers and Lady Blazing Paddlers initiated a firm headstart in the opening day of the NCAA Season 99 Table Tennis Tournament as both teams tallied 3-0 and 2-1 records respectively, on Jan. 29, at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Gymnasium in Ermita, Manila.
The men’s team, bannered by Joshua Lim, Neo Laudato, Gelo Deocareza, Henze Lucero, and Russ Pacuan, were the first Blazers to rally their rackets against the Mapua University (MU) Table Tennis Team. Deocareza managed to win the first singles match, 3-1, showing dominance despite losing a set. Lucero manned the Blazers’ court in the second singles match, handling the whole game and getting a clean 3-0 win. Lim and Laudato tagged up for the doubles match, resulting in another 3-0 sweep, defeating Mapua University in the doubles category. The series ended in favor of the Blazing Paddlers, 3-0, getting their first win of the tournament.
The Blazing Paddlers then took on the men’s team of the University of Perpetual Help System-DALTA (UPHSD) Altas Paddlers next for their second match of the tournament. Lucero took on the first singles match, resulting in a tight win, 3-2. Deocareza repped the Taft squad for the second singles match, but fell short in capturing the match, 1-3. Lim and Laudato recovered the team’s momentum as they managed to snatch a crucial win in the doubles match, 3-2. Lucero took the singles rematch for the decider of the series, ending with a dominating 3-1 rally to grab the second win of the Blazing Paddlers with a score of 3-1.
For their last match, the Blazing Paddlers manhandled the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Men’s Table Tennis Team as they took the match with a clean 3-0 win. All matches against EAC were sweeps, having 3-0 records in the tally sheets.
The women’s team, composed of Alex Reyes, Marriane Peralta, Jules Veluz, Ricci Villa, Danielle Marcelo, and Stephanie Manalo, took on the UPHSD Lady Altas Paddlers for their debut match of the tournament. Peralta suffered a sweep in the first singles match, 0-3, to open up the ball game. Reyes immediately bounced back with a win in the second singles match, 3-2. The duo of Villa and Veluz successfully took the win in the doubles match, 3-1. However, Reyes was handed a 0-3 loss in the third singles match. Peralta led the heroic efforts as she managed to dominate in the crucial fourth singles match, 3-1. The ladies in green and white managed to get the win in their first series of the tournament, 3-2.
In their second match against the San Beda University (SBU) Lady Red Paddlers, Reyes fell short of a win in the first singles match, 2-3. Peralta also wasn't able to catch a win in the second singles match, 1-3. Marcelo and Manalo bounced back in the doubles match, earning a 3-0 sweep for the Blazing Paddlers’ first win of the series. Despite the momentum, Reyes couldn’t hold the series on as the Red Paddlers took the fourth singles match win, 2-3, dealing the Lady Blazing Paddlers a loss with a series score of 1-3.
The Lady Blazing Paddlers immediately recovered from their loss as they swept their series against the MU Women’s Table Tennis Team. Reyes tallied an early 3-0 win in the first singles match of the series. Meanwhile, Peralta boosted the winning column after taking the win in the second singles match, 3-1. Villa and Veluz finished things up in the doubles match as they swept the series, 3-0.
The paddlers from the Blazers’ den are set to be back in action on Jan. 30 at the Emilio Aguinaldo College Gymnasium in Ermita, Manila.
Catch the Benilde Blazing Paddlers live on their official Facebook page.