‘Bilog ang bola’: EAC Generals’ Coach Rod Palmero assesses their title chances
Ceej Tantengco on Jan 09, 2016 06:39 PM
“Mas mahirap depensahan ang title kaysa ipanalo ito.” -- EAC men's volleyball coach Rod Palmero.
With their berth in the NCAA Season 91 Final Four assured, the real battle is about to begin for defending champs EAC Generals.
“Mas mahirap depensahan ang title kaysa ipanalo ito,” says Coach Rod Palmero. “Malaki ang pressure. Alam ng team na maraming nakatingin sa amin.”
Even with star player Howard Mojica, who dominated last season’s individual awards, holding on to their title will not be easy for the Generals.
“Alam kong kaya naming umabot hanggang championship, pero bilog ang bola,” says Palmero. Each of their rivals has their own strengths that make them a formidable contender to snatch EAC’s crown.
“Magaling ang Perpetual [Altas] sa depensa. Tapos ang CSB [Blazers] malakas pa rin, kailangan talagang bantayan yung opensa ni JV De Guzman,” explains Palmero. Of the two teams vying for the last slot, Palmero says the San Beda Red Spikers have a balanced offensive and defensive effort, while the Arellano Chiefs use their height to their advantage.
Palmero has been with EAC for 10 years, coaching the team in the NCRAA and UCAA before the Generals joined the NCAA five years ago.
Before their match against the CSB Blazers, the veteran coach admitted his young players sometimes get ruffled in crucial games. “Depende sa nakakalaban namin…confident at motivated sila kapag alam nilang kaya nilang talunin. Pero kapag malakas yung kalaban, nadadala sila ng pressure,” says Palmero.
In spite of this, the Generals swept their Season 90 rivals in three sets—25-17, 25-23, 25-21—with the lanky Mojica tearing up the court with 26 points.
And if the Generals’ most recent match against the Altas is any indication of the intensity we can expect from them in the Final Four, things look good for Palmero’s team. The Generals handed their opponents their first loss all season—and in straight sets, too, 25-20 25-22 25-17.
As his team advances to the next stage of the competition, Palmero reminds his team to show their killer instinct regardless of which team they’re up against, and on the technical side, increase the efficiency of their blockings.
“Paalala ko sa kanila, maglaro lang kayo kagaya ng pinag-practice-an natin,” says Palmero. “Walang pressure—mahalin niyo lang ‘yung mismong sport na volleyball.”