'Laking lola' Elaine Kasilag stars for Lady Warriors

ABS-CBN Sports on May 22, 2017 08:36 PM
'Laking lola' Elaine Kasilag stars for Lady Warriors
Pocari Sweat Lady Warrior Elaine Kasilag smashes the ball through her defenders.

Elaine Kasilag grew up with paternal grandmother.   

“Laking lola po ako.”

There’s so much pride in the way Lady Warrior Elaine Kasilag Sweat of Pocari Sweat claims she grew up with her paternal grandmother since she was a baby.    

Now 22 and standing at 5-foot-11, Kasilag says her turn has come to take care of grandma Arsenia Silva whom she affectionately calls Inay. Wherever she is, she doesn’t forget to send her deceased dad’s mom her monthly allowance. On occasions, she also gives her extra money whenever she makes small lambing to her.     

In a casual voice she volunteers the information that her mother left her when she was only eight months old and her two older siblings in the care of her paternal grandmother in Lipa City, Batangas.    

“Growing up,” she says in Filipino, “I was not showy with my affections for Inay, but I so love her just the same. When my brother and sister got married and left the house, it brought her and me much closer and more open with each other. I became showy with my love for her, especially when I started earning money from playing commercial volleyball.”     

An exceptionally talented wing or utility spiker, Kasilag seems to be bringing luck as well to the team she’s played for so far. 

In her first three years as an athlete-scholar with the University of Perpetual Help in Biñan, Laguna, where she’s taking up criminology, she helped power the school to another winning streak of three consecutive indoor championships in the NCAA South and as many beach volleyball titles with different partners.  

In her first ever appearance in a commercial league as a member of PLDT Home Ultera, the Alyssa Valdez-led Ultra Spikers captured the Open Conference of the former V League in 2015. She says she was a bit disappointed when she didn’t receive a call-back for the PLDT squad for the V League Reinforced Conference in the same season.     

But that disappointment turned into elation when the following year, Pocari Sweat included her in their lineup in the Lady Warriors’ debut in the V League Open Conference.

“I was really, really surprised when coach (Rommel) Abella made me a member of the first six right away.”

The Lady Warriors, cheered on by their own hordes of fans, went on to sweep the Open and Reinforced Conference championships of the V League in a dominant display that has since installed Pocari Sweat as a new power in Philippine volleyball.

Kasilag is thankful that she has kept her spot as a first stringer with the Lady Warriors in the ongoing Reinforced Conference of the Premier Volleyball League, another trailblazing tournament put up by Sports Vision incorporating both men’s and women’s play in joint auspices with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball.   

“I have to live up to the trust of my coach in my capability all the time,” she says. “Much more is expected of me as a member of the first team so I have to deliver; there’s no excuse if I don’t.”

Her numbers in the Lady Warriors’ five outings so far in the PVL reflected in a way Pocari’s slow climb to somewhere near the top with a three-win, two-loss record.     

Kasilag managed only five points against the Power Smashers and eight against Balipure in their first two matches, which Pocari both lost.  

When she started hitting double figures in a continuing progression – 11 against the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers, 12 against the Perlas Spikers, and 14 against the Creamline Cool Smashers – that signaled the Lady Warriors’ ascent to the win column again with three straight victories.

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