Tajanlangit is pulling Army squad together
Timothy Tajanlangit (left) with his UST coach Ojie Mamon.
For Philippine Army coach Rico de Guzman, this 19-year-old pride of Gen. Santos City with a kilometric name is heaven-sent.
Until the arrival of Timothy James Confesor Tajanlangit on his team a week before the opening of the Premier Volleyball League on April 30, the Troopers, severely depleted by the mandatory six-month CST (Candidate Soldier Training), were having a rather disorganized training.
“The CST left me with only eight regulars to work with,” said de Guzman. “The core of the team including our main setter have to attend the required training so we were quite disorganized during practice.”
No sooner than University of Santo Tomas had failed to survive the first stage of the UAAP men’s stepladder finals against Far Eastern University did de Guzman’s assistant, Kungfu Reyes, also mentor of the UST women’s squad, arrange the loan-out of Tajanlangit and two other members of the UST first team to the Troopers.
“Just like that,” added de Guzman, “this nice young man banished my king-sized headache. In one week Tim brought order to our training with his excellent setting and disposition. Biglang gumanda ang aming coordination, blocking, offense and defense.”
The handsome Army coach acknowledged that mainly because of Tajanlangit and two other UST Tigers in his lineup, Lemuel Anthony Arbasto and Jayvee Sumagaysay, and the presence of resident ace Trooper Benjaylo Labide, their chances of making good in the PVL have considerably improved. “Lalaban kami,” de Guzman said emphatically.
His starting six of Tajanlangit, Labide, Arbasto, Sumagaysay, ex-Tiger Romnick Rico and John David delos Reyes, ably supported by libero Jason Uy, carried the Troopers past Instituto Estetico Manila in five thrilling sets, 25-19, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 16-14, and booked them a place in the history of the PVL as its first team winner.
Tajanlangit even contributed six points to his team’s scoreboard, already an achievement among setters. Labide led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Sumagaysay with 14, Arbasto with 12, and Rico with 11.
On its inaugural staging this year, the PVL, with Asics as its official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball, is committed to continuing the high standards of excellence that set apart its predecessor, the immensely successful V-League and Spikers’ Turf, from the rest of the volleyball leagues.
Indebted to high school coach
Tajanlangit always makes it a point to visit Romulo Balala, his high school coach in Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, to whom he says he is indebted for life whenever he comes home to Gen. Santos.
It was coach Balala, according to Tajanlangit, who made contact with somebody in UST and paved the way for his eventual inclusion on the team with no hassle at all. The next year it was time for the same caring coach to recommend Tajanlangit’s younger brother Gerald David, a libero, to UST again.
Both brothers are now athlete-students of UST, continuing the tradition of the best of GenSan’s volleyball players opting to study and play for the Espana-based grand institution of learning like standout UAAP graduates Mark Gil Alfafara, Rico, Christian Arbasto, and Jason Sarabia.
There’s understandable pride when Tajanlangit mentions that his father graduated with a degree in marketing from De La Salle University-Taft and that his three older siblings also finished university in GenSan. He reserves his greatest admiration for his deceased grandpa on his father’s side, an industrial engineer and a World War II veteran who survived the infamous Death March.
It takes a lot of coaxing before he reveals that he was an honors student in all his four years in high school and has been getting good grades in his engineering studies now. He already calculates that he will graduate at the same time that he completes his playing years in the UAAP.