I called the Ynares Sports Arena home for one week. I was lodged by the baseline near the locker rooms watching the games and occasionally typing in my computer. Seeing these young ladies play while analyzing stat sheets in between is a tall order. But that’s nothing compared to how high these volleyball players stood up for the love of the sport.
It’s no joke playing five games in six days. While they do get a few hours of rest before they hit the taraflex again, it does take a toll on their bodies. One player was even icing her knees hours before their game because they were hurting. Despite the pain, she kept going to help her team win the match. Another player kept on playing even though she suffered an in-game injury. They kept on fighting even though the odds were not in their favor. That “can’t lose” attitude will only propel them to greater heights.
These young players kept on fighting regardless of the stakes of the game. They were still chasing balls that were misreceived and lay themselves on the line for excellent digs. When the ball drifts beyond the court’s lines, all six players would chase it in hopes of extending the rally. One set even had a 36-34 scoreline because no one wanted to give up. Errors are inevitable but they were always keen on bouncing back.
Height was not even a factor as local teams got the better of the guest squads from outside the country. This is best exemplified in the gold medal match wherein Kings Montessori School outclassed Team Hawaii Under 18 in straight sets. KMS’ system is a sight to behold. Its players will only benefit from such scheme as they continue to play in college. Defeating teams that are more imposing physically is also a boost to their morale.
The Rebisco Volleyball League 2018 National Finals brought out the best from these players because no opponent can be taken lightly. Nine regional champions and three invitationals gave everything they had just to claim a win. But beyond the wins and the losses, each squad took a page from their opponents’ strategy and preparation. That exchange of ideas and volleyball philosophies will continually feed the improvement of coaches and players alike. Yet foes they may be in court, the friendships they built off it gives them a support group that understands the challenges of being an athlete and motivates them to push further.
The final whistle was blown weeks ago but the foundation that the Rebisco Volleyball League has established will have ripple effects that can last for generations. They will never forget this experience as long as they live especially if it opens more doors for them. For that, I am proud to have witness their greatness at such a young age. I consider myself lucky to have a front row seat for the rosy future of Philippine volleyball.
If these players show excellence while representing their schools and their regions, what more the entire country? A decade may seem far away. But before you know it, these athletes who have graced the RVL floor will play under our national flag. But before that happens, the seeds that have been planted in the RVL must be constantly nurtured by parents, teachers, and coaches alike.
It always takes a village to raise a child. If the Filipino volleyball community will have the harmony to do just that, then what has started during the Rebisco Volleyball League will continue to bear fruit.