NCAA Season 95: Top NCAA men's volleyball MVP candidate eyes national team spot

Mark Escarlote on Feb 24, 2020 04:51 PM
Top NCAA men's volleyball MVP candidate eyes nat'l team spot
Pangarap ko rin talaga maging part ng national team -- Louie Ramirez (Photo: Arvin Lim)

University of Perpetual Help sophomore Louie Ramirez is playing on top of his game this NCAA Season 95.

He sees it as a chance not only to help the Altas keep their grasp of the crown but also as an opportunity to be noticed and fulfill his ultimate goal of serving the country.

The Pangasinense is very vocal in his interest to land a spot in the Philippine men’s volleyball team just like former Altas libero Jack Kalingking, who helped the PHI squad capture the historic silver medal in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December.

“Pangarap ko rin talaga maging part ng national team kasi 'yun nga, parang pumunta ako sa Perps kasi 'yun talaga ang pangarap ko,” said Ramirez, who was recruited by Perpetual mentor and former national team coach Sammy Acaylar. “Kumbaga parang 'yun 'yung susi ba para makalaro sa National team.”

Ramirez had a decent debut with the Altas last year, helping Perpetual finish a perfect season. Unfortunately, he was barely noticed playing a less glamorous position at the middle and behind the shadows of Season 95 1st Best Middle Blocker Ronniel Rosales.

But when Altas star Joebert Almodiel, the two-time reigning MVP, decided to part ways with Perpetual, Ramirez seized the chance to break out of his shell. 

Converted to open spiker to fill the void left by Almodiel, Ramirez did not disappoint. The Hotel and Restaurant Management student averaged 17.7 points per game in the Las Pinas-based squad’s nine-game sweep of the eliminations that propelled Perpetual straight to the Finals for the second straight year.

Acaylar admits that Ramirez did struggle during the early part of the season with his new role which he got just a few weeks before the start of the tournament.

“You know, to tell you frankly, before nag opening ang NCAA, nagkaroon pa kami ng medyo struggles because nawalan kami ng player,” said Acaylar.

“Nagkaroon kami ng struggles din, at least noong cinonvert ko si Louie sa pagiging open spiker, 'yun pala ang nasa puso niya talagang gusto niya mag-open spiker kaya nakuha niya 'yung gusto kong mangyari,” he added. “Nag-adjust siya pero ngayon malinis na siyang gumalaw sa loob.”

Now thriving at his new spot, Ramirez is tipped to win the highest individual award. But the Altas scorer just wants to look at the bigger picture.

“'Di ko pa iniisip kasi kumbaga lagi naman sinasabi ni coach Sam na, ‘Maglaro para sa team hindi 'yung maglaro para sa sarili. Kumbaga wag niyo isipin 'yung mga award kasi kumbaga 'yung championship talaga. 'Yung mga award parang bonus nalang 'yan para sa aming mga player,’” said Ramirez.

Perpetual will wait for its best-of-three Finals opponent as the elimination round resumes on March 16 after a month of halt following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  

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