With their defeat at the hands of the University of Perpetual Help Lady Altas last Tuesday, the College of Saint Benilde Lady Blazers are entering their Final Four rubber match with a heightened sense of urgency in order to potentially set up a Finals match-up against the two-time defending champion Arellano Lady Chiefs.
“We’re heading into this game with a do-or-die mindset. We just really need to give it our all kasi eto na final chance namin to get into the finals this season,” outside hitter Klarisa Abriam said with conviction. “This leads to what we’ve been working so hard for kaya we can’t give it up. We’ve acknowledged yung mistakes namin sa previous game and faced it head on sa training,” she added.
Abriam, one of Coach Jerry Yee’s main weapons, also shared that self-belief will propel them to a victory over Perpetual. “Despite it being a crucial match, we won’t let our nerves get in the way of our game. Kailangan lang namin magtiwala sa isat isa at sa kakayahan ng team.”
Meanwhile, graduating middle spiker Rachel Austero mentioned that undivided focus will be their ticket to a win. “We just do our regular gameplan, watch film, and learn the scouting report. We just have to keep our focus, keep our discipline, and keep the pressure off our shoulders.”
The wards of Coach Jerry Yee are also putting in extra work to prepare against former mentor Michael Cariño who led the Lady Blazers to an NCAA women’s volleyball title in Season 91. The current head coach of the Lady Altas knows the strengths and weaknesses of most of the Lady Blazers given that he was the one who recruited most of them, especially Austero. “We were different players when we were under coach Macky (Cariño) and we are different players now. We have improved and stepped up our game now and through the years so I don’t think that him knowing our weaknesses would be a problem for us,” said the 21-year old Industrial Design student.
For Abriam, Cariño’s recruit together with Marites Pablo from National University, doesn’t let this unfavorable knowledge get into her. “We try to not get that into our heads. Though it is a fact that we trained under him and he knows how we move pero we’ve also grown since our time with him. We just focus to improve on our individual and team weaknesses sa training as we would with any other team we are facing.”
There will be no tomorrows for Abriam, Austero, and the rest of the CSB Lady Blazers. Come their rubber match against the Lady Altas, they will be swinging and spiking hard in hopes of avenging the loss that halted their eight game winning streak in NCAA Season 94.