UAAP heavyweight De La Salle prevailed over Est Cola, 20-25, 25-17, 19-25, 25-22, 15-11, in a friendly match a day before the Thais compete in the final round of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) Invitationals on Thursday.
But the masterful conquest was only half of the story.
Est Cola coach Chamnan Dokmai praised the Lady Archers, saying that they have a very good system and a well-run program that could give their foes in the UAAP a run for their money.
He said he knows some of the players in La Salle after calling the shots for Thailand in the Asean University Games in which current Ateneo de Manila coach Anusorn Bundit served as his deputy.
[quote cite=’Chamnan Dokmai, Est Cola head coach’]”They are very good. I know some of the players in that university team.”[/quote]
[quote]”Many player can play in substitution. When someone cannot play, another one can play. They have strong team system.”[/quote]
Dokmai was also impressed with Kim Fajardo, the seasoned playmaker who competed against the country’s best setters in the PSL last year, as well as Dawn Macandili.
[quote]”They have a good setter and a good libero.” [/quote]
Est Cola will be opening its final round campaign in the PSL against F2 Logistics.
The Lady Archers, on the other hand, are preparing for another blockbuster showdown against bitter rival Ateneo in the second round of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament this Sunday.
Better than Alyssa’s UAAP team
But Dokmai had a shocking observation.
When asked if the Lady Spikers are better than the team of his old pal in Bundit, Dokmai answered affirmatively.
[quote]”His team has Alyssa Valdez, but this team I think is better. They have good team system.”[/quote]
Headed by seasoned tactician Ramil de Jesus, La Salle shares the top spot with Ateneo with a 10-2 win-loss card.
The Lady Spikers, however, prevailed convincingly in their first-round encounter and will be marching to the warpath overflowing with confidence after sinking the Thais, who are veteran campaigners of various Asian and world tournaments.
The great rivalry will surely never run out of drama.
Shortly after losing to La Salle, Dokmai was invited by Bundit and Ateneo team manager Tonyboy Liao to dinner in a nearby Japanese restaurant.
What was discussed over dinner was not revealed, but speculations are pregnant that it might has something to do with the scheduled battle between Ateneo and La Salle, especially with the Lady Eagles itching to gain redemption.
Did Dokmai spill the trade secret of his old pal, Bundit, to de Jesus — or was Bundit inquiring about the game plan of La Salle that led to its victory?
What is clear is that the plot continues to thicken and the great rivalry is shaping into a full-blown war.