La Salle brings spunk, grit back to Superliga

Tuesday, 03 May 2016
Julius Manicad - @JCManicad

The celebration and the ecstasy of winning the UAAP women’s volleyball crown have yet to die down, but De La Salle University is off to another important mission: The Philippine Superliga.

Yes, as rival Ateneo de Manila takes its much-needed breather, as Far Eastern University trains in the comfort of its own floor, the Lady Spikers will be marching to a much competitive battle, eager to sharpen their knives in preparation for their title defense next year.

This is how champions are made.

They work hard while nobody is looking.

They sacrificed their time and compete with the best to achieve greatness.

And for these Lady Spikers, they will concoct the same formula that made them successful this year by joining the PSL All-Filipino Conference starting June 18.

Galang as top pick

Multiple sources bared that Ara Galang looms as the top overall pick in the PSL Annual Rookie Draft on May 27.

That belief was further reinforced when Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez declared that she will remain playing in the V-League, a tournament runs by Ateneo team manager Tonyboy Liao.

Galang, a gem of an opener from Angeles City, suffered mild contusion in the crucial stretch of Game 2 of the UAAP finals that allowed the Lady Eagles to make a searing comeback to level the series.

The year before, she crashed with an anterior crutiate ligament (ACL) injury and was reduced into a teary-eyed spectator as Valdez and the Lady Eagles drown themselves in celebration of their second UAAP title.

But her checkered medical history didn’t diminish her draft stock as she marches to the country’s most prestigious club league as potential topnotcher of what could be very powerful draft class.

F2 Logistics had gone up to the draft order and moved in perfect position to tab Galang.

Cha Cruz will finally get some help when her former La Salle teammates join her in F2 Logistics" width="750" height="300" srcset="https://d3oglv4ve9pz8v.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/08160023/Cha_F2-750x300.jpg 750w, https://d3oglv4ve9pz8v.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/08160023/Cha_F2-1024x410.jpg 1024w, https://d3oglv4ve9pz8v.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/08160023/Cha_F2.jpg 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 750px) 100vw, 750px" /> Cha Cruz will finally get some help when her former La Salle teammates join her in F2 Logistics

Bannered by Aby Marano, Cha Cruz and Paneng Mercado — three stars who engineered La Salle’s three-peat run — the Cargo Movers are reportedly all set to bring in the nucleus of the Lady Spikers with Galang serving as the offensive cornerstone.

La Salle caoch Ramil de Jesus will be calling the shots while Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Kim Fajardo, Majoy Baron, Dawn Macandili and UAAP finals Most Valuable Player Kim Dy will be joining Marano, Cruz and Mercado to assemble probably the most solid, most fluid lineup in the PSL.

Strong performance

The first time Marano, Cruz and Mercado joined their former teammates in the PSL was in 2014 when they donned the colors of AirAsia.

Then, they competed as Generika and Shopinas the following conferences where they came up with runner-up finishes — a strong testament to their strength and power as a team.

The Lady Spikers failed miserably in the previous PSL Grand Prix. But it made them stronger for the UAAP season

They joined in the season-ending PSL Grand Prix as Meralco with Christina Alessi of the United States and Liis Kullerkann of Estonia as imports. But it was quite a different team as Marano had already bolted out for Petron, leaving Reyes, Baron and Dy as the brave young blockers in the middle.

The Power Spikers bombed out, losing all but their second to the last game of the eliminations.

Although they salvaged some measure of pride after beating a rusty RC Cola-Air Force team in the battle for 5th, the humiliation made them battle-scarred, tougher for the fierce war ahead.

And it was playmaker Kim Fajardo who delivered a stern warning.

“Abangan nyo kami sa UAAP (Wait for us in the UAAP).”

Few months later, Fajardo’s warning came to fruition.

The Lady Spikers finally slayed the ghosts of Valdez and the Lady Eagles, who have been conquering them for the past couple of years.

Hard work paid a handsome reward.

This year, the Lady Spikers vowed to do it again.

Never mind if they win or lose, never mind if they get humiliated: The most important thing is the lessons they will learn from playing with the best.

That’s how champions are made.