“I-erase niyo na champion tayo:” CSB Lady Blazers renew competitive spirit
Ceej Tantengco on Feb 03, 2017 01:07 PM
"“Wala, walang comfort. Last season, per game kami nag-i-improve, every game may target." -- CSB Coach Macky Cariño
When the CSB Lady Blazers won their first ever women’s volleyball title last year, everything was a new challenge—not least because they were up against the powerhouse SSCR Lady Golden Stags with MVP Grethcel Soltones.
But even though they’ve got more experience and maturity under their belt in NCAA Season 92, Coach Macky Cariño says that doesn’t make the load any lighter.
“Wala, walang comfort. Last season, per game kami nag-i-improve, every game may target. Dapat ganoon din kami this year,” he says. “Sabi ko sa kanila, ‘i-erase niyo na champion tayo.’”
Cariño expects much from team captain Jeanette Panaga, as well as several players whom he converted to play a different position from last season.
“Si [Pauline] Cardiente, spiker na naging setter. Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘gusto ko ikaw ang best setter this season,’” laughs the fourth-year head coach. “Tapos china-challenge din ni Jeanette, sabi niya hindi raw magagawa. Si [Rachel] Austero, ginawa ko na ring outside hitter kasi malakas talaga siya pumalo at ‘yun ang kailangan namin.”
In spite of the graduation of veteran setter Djanel Cheng and the high-scoring Janine Navarro, the Lady Blazers still have the “Two Towers” in the form of Panaga and Ranya Musa.
“Gusto ko makita ngayong final four na mag-step up yung seniors ko. ‘Yung team kasi ngayon, nagdedepende sa seniors,” says Cariño. “Kung maganda nilalaro ng seniors, lahat sumusunod na. Ganoon din naman last year.”
Panaga is the squad’s sole graduating player. She’s had short hair for ages, she had the idea to dare her teammates to cut their hair should their elimination round sweep be broken. It was, and though the team had to troop to the salon, they came back hungrier and more bonded than ever.
“Noong una, ayaw ni Jeanette maging team captain kasi parang ang laking responsibility,” reveals Cariño. “Pero sabi ko sa kanya, magugustuhan mo ‘yan. Lalo na kapag nananalo kayo.”