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What is the secret to the Junior Altas’ lasting success?

Friday, 01 Feb 2019
AJ Tanada - Writer - @volleyverse
Photo credit: Dennis Abrina

Creating a family-oriented culture makes the five-peat seeking University of Perpetual Help Junior Altas a team to reckon with.

“I think yung winning formula namin is yung samahan namin ng mga players kasi from grade 7 up to grade 12 nasa team na sila. The trust is there. Kung ano ang tiwala nila sa akin ganyan na din ang trust ko sa kanila. Give and take.” said by Junior Altas coach Sandy Rieta. The former Altas middle blocker has produced the likes of Altas setter EJ Casana, UE Red Warrior Aljohn Abalon, Arellano open hitter Ivan Encila, and National University libero Ricky Marcos.

“I’m very confident na ganyan ang magiging resulta nila na mga former players ko from the juniors level and alam ko na nagiimprove pa sila sa college level,” Rieta said about the transition of the players he has handled.

Currently on his seventh year as head coach, Rieta has developed loads of talent that strengthens his bid for a fifth straight title and 11th overall. Leading the way for the Las Pinas-based squad are RP youth member Noel Kampton, team captain Kirth Rosos, libero Arriane Paul Teodoro, Hero Austria, and graduating setter Christian Hidalgo.

For Rosos, last season’s Juniors MVP, the drive to win it all again is high. “As a team, ang motivation namin syempre ay dala namin ang pangalan ng school which is Perpetual. Ang mga coaches namin especially si coach Sammy (Acaylar), si Coach Sandy, Coach Jason (Sapin), pati na din pamilya namin. Gusto namin na makagawa ng panibagong history and that is to sweep and win the championship. As individuals, gustong gusto namin makuha ang championship.”

Meanwhile, Rosos has nothing but praise for his main mentor. “Ang pinakagustong gusto ko na natutunan ko kay Coach Sandy is kailangan mong matutunan i-build up yung tapang mo sa sarili kasi yun ang hindi maituturo at mahirap matutunan. Yan ang madadala mo inside and outside the court.”

For Teodoro, a young 17-year old Grade 12 libero from Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, humility and resolve is what he learned the most from their tactician. “Ang pinakamalaking naituro sa akin nila coach Sandy and Jason ay dapat maging matibay at maging matapang na player inside and outside the court. Always be humble. Stay focused and i-manage ang emotions lalo na sa crucial na laro. Yan ang naituro sa akin nila at kaya ako ay better person dahil sa mga naituro nila coach.” As for contesting another championship, he added, “We know we can get the five-peat. We must not be over complacent and relax. What we did in the eliminations, mas pagagandahin pa namin sa finals.”

Armed with the family culture they’ve built, Rieta and Rosos hopes to retain the crown for the school and their families. “I am hoping na makuha namin itong pang 5th straight title. Paghahandaan namin eto talaga para sa school,” Rieta said. “Tratrabahuhin namin talaga at pagsisikapan talaga naming gawin lahat para maging proud sa amin ang perpetualite community, coaches and lalo na family namin,” Rosos said when asked about their chances in the finals.

Their senior counterparts are also set to play in the NCAA Season 94 championship series against the CSB Blazers. Regardless of what happens in that best-of-three affair, the future is bright for the Perpetual Help men’s volleyball program. All they need to do is to keep the family together in working towards a common goal. The Junior Altas have complete phase one of their quest for a five-peat by sweeping the eliminations. It’s now time to complete the task against the challenger Letran Squires.

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