Former UST champion might be Mapua's volleyball savior

Former UST champion might be Mapua's volleyball savior
As the star libero of the UST Tiger Spikers, Doloiras won four straight UAAP championships and was a two-time Best Receiver.

If there is one word to describe Paul Jan Doloiras, that would be "winner."

As the star libero of the UST Tiger Spikers, Doloiras won four straight UAAP championships and was a two-time Best Receiver.

When he transitioned into coaching, he helped revive UST's beach volleyball program.

The women's team, with Cherry Rondina as the star spiker, won three of the last four titles while the men's team has one championship to show for after five straight Finals appearances.

Coming from such a prestigious and successful program, Doloiras has taken on the challenge of giving life to the anemic Mapua volleyball team in the NCAA.

Taking on the women's head coaching job back in June of last year, Doloiras is tasked to improve upon the Lady Cardinals' 0-9 finish from Season 92.

On Thursday, Doloiras' NCAA debut didn't go well as his team got smacked in straight sets by defending champion Arellano but there's reason to hope for him and Mapua.

"Okay lang, good game. Kasi yung kalaban naman, sa babae, defending champion yun eh, kami last eh," he told ABS-CBN Sports when asked about his coaching debut for Mapua.

"Kita naman namin na nag-improve naman pero di pa to the point na level kasi unang taon pa lang naman," Doloiras said.

Him talking about Season 93 being merely the first year is the key point here.

Doloiras has a grand plan in place for the Lady Cardinals and he said it might take a while.

However, patience is a virtue and Doloiras' plans include turning Mapua into something like the old UST teams of the past. The UST teams he used to play for aka championship contenders every year and not struggling to make the Final Four every season.

"Sabi ko nga, bigyan kami ng 3-4 years na mapaangat to kasi never pa tng Mapua pumapasok sa Final Four eh," he said talking about the Lady Cardinals.

"Kahit Final Four muna yung goal namin, o kahit 5th-6th nga okay na kami eh, sa ngayon. Pero sa darating na taon, dapat 3-4 years ganun din sa UST. Sana magawa namin," Doloiras added.

Following another near-flawless Beach Volleyball season in the UAAP, Doloiras coming over to the NCAA is a challenge he says.

But that's part of his personality of always looking for something greater to conquer. It's also a test of just how good of a coach he is.

"Gusto ko nacha-challenge ako palagi. Kaya ko to kinuha, kasi nasa ilalim to," Doloiras said.

"Gusto ko makita yung sarili ko na bitbitin to hanggang dulo at makita rin yung level ko kung kakayanin ba," he added.

The Lady Cardinals are not the only team in Mapua that will be under the tutelage of Doloiras though.

The former Tiger Spiker will also handle the Cardinals for Season 93 following a sudden coaching change late last year.

For the men's team, Doloiras said that his challenge is a little different.

Unlike the Lady Cardinals, the Cardinals were in contention last year, finishing at fifth place, one game back of a Final Four slot.

"Yung skills nandun naman eh, pero hindi pa nagsi-sync in sa kanila na malakas sila na team eh," Doloiras said of the Cardinals, who also lost their season opener to the Chiefs, the team that got the last playoff spot last season.
 
"Individual malakas talaga, pero ayaw pa kasi sanay sila na lagi silang natatalo. Di pa nagsi-sync in na sa panahon ngayon, dapat manalo na sila," he added.

While he has a long-term plan in place, Doloiras is not about the waste his first season at Mapua though.

"For now, yung babae dapat maano namin kasi 10th yun eh. Kumbaga [maayos] lang namin nang konti okay na kami. Sa lalake pilitin namin makapasok ng four kasi fifth sila eh," he said.

 

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8

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