For the fourth straight year, the De La Salle University Lady Spikers will finish the first round of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament with a 5-2 record. But while the standing is the same, alarm bells rang when the three-time defending champions lost two straight in the middle of the competition.
But after dropping a five-setter against the UP Lady Maroons and a three-setter to the UST Golden Tigresses, the wards of Coach Ramil De Jesus finished the round strong with victories over the UE Lady Warriors and the FEU Lady Tamaraws.
After the FEU game, De Jesus was asked about his expectations for round two. To which he responded, “Mas mataas na lalaruin and then mas solid na galaw na lagi ko hinihingi sa kanila.” Then he added, “And siguro, mas mabalikan yun mga tumalo sa amin noong first round.”
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While the fastidious planner will prepare for all of their opponents, much attention will be devoted to their practices against UP and UST. Despite the five wins, the Lady Spikers are up for the challenge during training. “Ready din naman sila i-improve ang sarili nila on training. And sabi ko sa kanila, hindi man tayo sobrang talented tulad ng ibang team, nadadaan naman sa tiyaga yan eh.”
Aside from giving their all in practice, De Jesus hinted at maintaining their competitive mindset especially that they are going up against teams with mentally-tough leaders. “Sinasabi ko naman lagi sa team yun eh. Kailangan laging matigas ang character kasi teams na nakaka-encounter natin eh makikita mo yun mga leader doon eh medyo matitigas ang character. So kailangan ganun din kami.”
Finally, the 11-time UAAP champion mentor wants his current players to fight for the winning legacy they are upholding. “Kailangan lahat kami, lagi namin maalala na lahat kami, we have the blood of a champion and hindi namin yun pinapakawalan ng ganun-ganun lang kasi yun ang pinaghirapan namin at pinaghirapan din ni coach yun. Tinyaga niya kami every training, every game, and yun push lang po. In the second round, we’ll see what happens,” Tin Tiamzon said.
The De La Salle Lady Spikers will open the second round of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament against the Lady Maroons (4-3) on March 24 (Sunday), 4 pm, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.