Emotions pour out as Lady Blazers' reign ends
Mark Escarlote on Feb 03, 2017 09:12 PM
College of St. Benilde players and coaching staff comfort each other after losing the crown in the stepladder semifinals.
The atmosphere inside the College of St. Benilde dugout was a sharp contrast to the loud and raucous celebration, which echoed round The Arena in San Juan last year.
It was quiet with the occasional sobs and sniffs.
It was a picture of gloom.
Tears were shed and emotions poured when Arellano University hitter Jovielyn Prado finally put a punctuation mark on the stepladder semifinals match that lasted two hours and 13 minutes.
The Lady Chiefs are heading into the Finals while CSB will exit the 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball season without the crown they won last year.
“Nasasaktan kasi kami kaya kami umiiyak,” said head coach Macky Carino moments after CSB dropped a painful 25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 13-25, 9-15, decision that ended their reign.
“Nakita ko kung paano naghirap ang mga players ko eh. Ako alam ko kung paano nagtrabaho ang mga players ko eh, kung paano sila naghirap, kung paano namin tinest ang character ng mga players ko eh,” added Carino, who was also in tears, covering his face with his shirt as he walked towards the dugout. “Nakita ko kung paano sila nag-grow at paano nag-improve. Siyempre may panghihinayang pero ganoon talaga siguro di pa panahon.”
The Lady Blazers were actually in control of the match 2-1 but a string of miscues and wasted opportunities in the fourth set led to the team’s collapse. CSB committed 44 errors overall.
“Credit din siguro sa mabilis na adjustment ng AU, kasi nakita ko ang lineup nila. Bigla nilang pinagpalit eh. Ginawa nilang utility si (Rialen) Sante and dun na nanibago gumalaw ang team ko,” he said. “Ang dami na rin kasi naming errors eh. Ang dami na naming errors sa fourth set, hindi na nakatulong sa side namin. OK sana kung sila ang 2 tapos kami ang 1 tapos nanalo kami sa fourth. Sobrang taas ng morale namin pagdating namin sa fifth set sana nun, eh baligtad.”
Despite yielding the throne, Carino is still thankful for the achievements they had this season even with low expectations after the departure of Janine Navarro and setter Djanel Cheng last year in their breakthrough championship run.
“In-expect lang talaga namin na pumasok kami sa top four. Bitbit lang namin ang pagiging champion last year. ‘Yun ang nagpu-push sa amin para umangat talaga ang team. Di ko in-expect na ganito ang kalalabasan ng team ko,” said Carino.
“’Yung adjustment ng team ko medyo mabagal pero ok na rin yun na umabot ng ganito ang team ko. Hindi man namin nakuha ang championship pero at least natapos yung season namin na sobrang ganda ng ipinakita ng mga players ko,” added Carino, who will lose graduating players Jeanette Panaga, last season’s Finals MVP, and Chelsea Santillan. “Kahit pangit ang resulta naming sa Arellano paran panalo pa rin kami kasi nakita ko sa team ko na kaya pa naming maglaro ng ganito. Na-boost ang morale ko and lalo akong ginanahan na nakita ko ang players ko na, ‘may matitira pa pala ako na ganito kahit wala na si Panaga at Santillan.’”
CSB will leave Season 92 empty-handed, but expect the Lady Blazers write a different story in Season 93.
Suiting up for CSB next year are former National University players Marites Pablo and Klarisa Abriam and former University of the Philippines setter Jewel Lai.
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