Generika finally captured its first win after clobbering Cignal in straight sets, 25-15, 25-20, 25-22, in the 2016 Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix Saturday at the Philsports Arena.
It was a completely different Lifesavers squad. They marched to the warzone with fire in their eyes and were more aggressive on both ends.
Foreign players Polina Liutikova and Darlene Ramdin were impressive, finishing with 10 and nine points, respectively, to tow the Lifesavers to their first win after nine luckless starts.
With that, they moved to a perfect position of claiming the fifth seed in the playoffs and averting a possible head-on collision with powerhouse F2 Logistics, who is tipped to capture the third seed by virtue of a more superior card over RC Cola-Army. But the victory shouldn’t be credited to Polina and Ramdin’s firepower or to their improved defense and communication on the court.
It should be credited to their patience and never-say-die attitude. It’s something other teams should emulate.
Generika has the materials to contend. It has a tall frontline of Gen Casugod and Ria Meneses as well as explosive wing spikers in Chloe Cortez, Wensh Tiu and Shaya Adorador. It has one of the country’s brightest playmakers in Rubie de Leon with 19-year old Kathleen Arado serving as her understudy.
Their imports are former national team members in Ramdin of Trinidad and Tobago and Liutikova of Ukraine. But things got off to a sour start.
The Lifesavers were battered black and blue by their oppositions, prompting Vicente to offer his resignation if that what it will take to improve the chemistry of the team.
He admitted to Volleyverse that the players are no longer responding to him so he might as well step down and leave the coaching chores to his assistants, former national team members Zenaida Ybanez-Chavez and Rosemarie Prochina, who are both members of the gold medal-winning team in the 1993 Southeast Asian Games in Singapore.
Sources said Generika management panicked after their head coach aired his resignation. In fact, they had a lengthy, emotional talk over few bottles of beer where Vicente unloaded everything on his chest.
Few days later, Vicente was seen barking instructions from the bench. He’s not leaving the team. And the Lifesavers responded with a performance of a lifetime.
Keeping the faith
Since that very sorry turn of events, a different Generika side showed up.
The Lifesavers pushed Cignal to the limit before losing in five sets before threatening RC Cola-Army before losing in four sets. Yes, they were swept by Foton, but they fought tooth and nail in the second set before surrendering a 25-27 setback before the Tornadoes used all of its might in the third set to prevail, 25-20.
Generika’s previous game was against Petron. But the Tri-Activ Spikers also found the Lifesavers too tough to crack as they surrendered in the second set before running away with the victory.
Vicente said he doesn’t care about the final scores, the important thing is their big fighting heart.
Four days after pushing Petron to the limit, Generika finally came up with a major achievement – a victory over a Cignal squad that is bannered by legitimate stars like Janine Marciano, Stephanie Mercado, Mylene Paat and former Most Valuable Player Venus Bernal.
True enough, it was a victory as sweet as winning the title. It was the fruit of their patience and hard work. It was the outcome of their faith and trust in each other.