RDJ vows to storm back

Wednesday, 13 Dec 2017
Julius Manicad - Chief Correspondent - @JCManicad
Photo courtesy of Noel Monzales, Volleyball PH

If there’s a head coach who can bounce back after every fall, it’s definitely Ramil de Jesus of F2 Logistics.

The seasoned guru had already proven his brilliance in making crucial adjustments.

He gained a reputation in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) as a miracle worker, or somebody who can expertly revive the ailing chances of his De La Salle University.

He displayed that ability in the ongoing Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga (PSL) Grand Prix when he rallied the Cargo Movers to an emphatic victory over Iriga City in the quarterfinals and Cocolife in the semifinals following a sorry loss to Foton the week before.

In the ongoing best-of-three finals series against heavyweight Petron, his ability to motivate and adjust will surely tested.

And it would be interesting to see how he will turn the Cargo Movers’ fortune around, putting them from the jaw of disaster into the brink of success.

Outclassed

In Game 1 of the finals series, the Cargo Movers were simply outclassed.

Nothing was going right for them with American imports Hillary Hurley and Lindsay Stalzer joining forces to torch them with 31 of the Blaze Spikers’ 42 total attacks.

The Blaze Spikers also took advantage of their poor passing and shaky reception with nine aces while thwarting their attacks with eight blocks.

Even worst, Dawn Macandili, the second best libero in Asia, was not in rythmn, finishing with only five digs as Petron challenged her defense from start to finish.

De Jesus said the bigger, more seasoned Blaze Spikers rattled the hell out of his wards, who are making their first finals appearance in the import-flavored conference.

“We were very tight and a little intimidated.”

“I also noticed that they were never the same again after losing the first set. That’s why I told them to relax and bring back the confidence.”

Petron coach Shaq Delos Santos shared the same sentiment.
Delos Santos, the former Far Eastern University mentor who faced de Jesus and the Lady Spikers in numerous battles in the UAAP, said they took advantage of the Cargo Movers’ sluggish reception.

“I told my team to have a specific target from the service box.”

“I’m glad that it worked because we took them out of their comfort zone. We also managed to stop their executions and dominated them in free balls.”

Bounce back

But de Jesus said it’s not yet over.

De Jesus, who guided the Lady Spikers to 10 UAAP titles, said they will troop back to the drawing board to prepare at whatever the Blaze Spikers will throw at them.

Although they lost their first match, they still have a chance to prove their worth, to show that they deserve to win their first Grand Prix title.

“We will prepare hard to launch a comeback.”

“We failed our first test, but we will do our best to pass our second test and equalize the series. In fact, I didn’t tell them anything special in my post-match speech. I just told them to give their 100 percent next game.”

De Jesus said Game 1 is now a thing of the past and they are setting their sights on Game 2.

If they surpass that, anything can happen.