Growling Tigers unveil promised secret weapons

Mark Escarlote on Sep 06, 2017 04:42 PM
Growling Tigers unveil promised secret weapons
Coach Odjie Mamon (sixth from right, back row) is all smiles these days all because his present batch of players are performing according to expectations. The seemingly rejuvenated Growling Tigers, bannered by rookie Joshua Umandal (no. 11), swept their first two games in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the expense of the UP Fighting Maroons and the De La Salle Green Spikers.

Answering a question in an ambush interview if he has new, exciting players to parade for the season-ending Collegiate Conference of the Premier Volleyball League a few weeks before it opened, University of Santo Tomas coach Odjie Mamon looked the interviewer in the eye, flashed him a Mona Lisa smile, and said:

“I have three secret weapons on my team now.”

Pressed to name who they are, he simply asked the sportswriter to go watch his Growling Tigers in their opening match in the PVL final tournament for the year, another major event organized by Sports Vision with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball.

On Sept. 2 at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City, rookie Joshua Umandal, a transferee from University of the East, pummeled the court with 11 overpowering kills to finish with 13 points and announce to all the opposition that he is the prime man to watch out for on the Espana side. 

Two days later Umandal again top-scored for his team, all his 14 points coming from attacks.

Power pure and simple is what the hefty Umandal brings to the table for coach Mamon, who is both an accomplished player and coach.

Besides Umandal, the six-foot-four coach also said rookies Lester Kim Sawal, a libero from UE as well, and Hernel Gem Corda, a find from UP Visayas, bear watching. There is, he added, setter Aldous Darcy Casillan, a second-generation Growling Tiger, too.

Casillan’s dad Rolly, who came to watch him on Monday, was one of the more celebrated setters to have come from UST, distinguishing himself with two UAAP titles and the first Nestea Beach Volleyball crown which he shared with partner Jeff Drio.

Mamon suited up for flag and country in three Southeast Asia Games, clinching a bronze in one of them, and two international junior championships.

He was assistant coach when the national women’s team captured its last SEAG bronze in 2001 and head coach this time around when the Philippine women’s squad seized a bronze in the same biennial meet in 2001.

The complete UST lineup: Lester Kim Sawal, Vixen Vaughn Valenzuela, Arnold Bautista, Jerald David Tajanlangit, John Michael Millado, Aldous Darcy Casillan, Jayvee Sumagaysay, Timothy James Tajanlangit, Manuel Medina, Joshua Umandal, Hernel Gem Corda, Juron Jireh Buro, Isaiah Icalina and Tyrone Carodan.

Team manager, Timothy Kyle; head coach, Odjie Mamon; assistant coach, Benjamin Mape; trainer, Mark Gil Alfafara; and trainer/therapist, Vincent Ponce de Leon.

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