Filling up the void left by Rio Olympian Ian Larriba was no easy task according to De La Salle University (DLSU) table tennis team captain Jamaica Dianne Sy.
“There were a lot of adjustments done after Ate Yan (Larriba) left the team, but our dedicated alumni varsity players were very supportive and are always there to give advice on how to handle the team. One of the biggest things I have to deal with is how to earn the respect of my teammates.”
Sy said that as team captain, it is her responsibility to make the team realize that everyone’s job is essential.
“At one point, each of us will be in a position to make our team win or lose a game. There must be no insecurities, no negative manifestation of ego, no blaming each other for the success or failure of the game,” said Sy.
Sy recalled a game during a University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s table tennis finals when the Lady Archers were down by one game against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tigresses. She remembered everyone in her team playing with concentration and intensity.
“Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the me for the we,” she added, quoting Phil Jackson.
A fourth year BS Accountancy student, balancing her time between sports training and her studies has always been a challenge.
“I strive to achieve balance between them, but there will always come a time that one will weigh heavier than the other and it entails sacrifices. There were times that I have to give up my chance of joining international competitions because I am taking my major subjects in Accountancy. I can’t afford to be absent for two weeks or else I might not be included in the Dean’s List. But there were also times that I have to prioritize my being a student athlete especially during the UAAP season. These decisions are extremely difficult to make but these are also means in molding me to become a better person,” Sy said.
From 2014 to 2016, Sy consistently won gold in the National Junior Table Tennis Qualifying Tournament. She also bagged a bronze in the women’s open singles of the Table Tennis Association of the Philippines, Philippine Super League 2015 and in the women’s open of the 20th Grand Family Cup Table Tennis Championship in 2015.
Sy had also seen action in the 18th Asian University Games in Singapore where her team bagged the bronze medal. In the Philippine National Games 2016, she finished fifth and qualified to become a member of the Philippine Team.
“It is very fulfilling to study for my future and play the sport I love for the name of DLSU. Being a student-athlete in DLSU further develops my persistence, determination, discipline, and dedication.”
As a way of giving back, Sy is sharing her skills in table tennis to younger players.
“I am currently an activity teacher in my alma mater, the Philippine Cultural College, handling the table tennis club. I enjoy the work very much and I find it very productive.”
Sy sees herself ten years from now as an executive accountant working for a multinational company or an audit firm. But she has no plan of leaving table tennis and intends to continue teaching it to young people so they too may have the gift of a strong body and mind that she is enjoying today.