Double-time work delivers goods for Red Lions
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 16, 2017 02:46 PM
New San Beda coach Al Carpio (extreme left, back row) had only three months to whip the Red Lions into fighting form before the Sept. 2 opening of the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference. Joining the team for the first time are Jomaru Amagan (no. 1) and Angelo Torres (3), who is still recovering from an ACL surgery. Inset photo shows Mr. and Mrs. Tomas Africa, long-time supporters of San Beda’s basketball and volleyball squads.
“Double time, double time!”
That was what surprise San Beda College coach Al Alegro muttered the very moment his Red Lions fell in straight sets to the favored National University Bulldogs, 15-25, 16-25, 18-25, in their first outing in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.
The next day coach Alegro, who took over when head coach Nes Pamilar underwent a heart surgery, plunged his players into longer training hours only to be clawed into submission again by the UAAP triple champion Ateneo Blue Eagles.
But Alegro took comfort from the way his charges made the Blue Eagles sweat for every point, 23-25, 16-25, 25-27.
Finally on Sept. 11, the coach and his team’s staunchest supporters, Atty. Tomas Africa and his wife, breathed a sigh of relief following the Red Lions’ masterful handling of the usually strong University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 25-22, 22-25, 19-25.
Newcomer Jomaru Amagan exploded with 14 points and the veteran pair of Mark Christian Enciso and Limuel Patenio combined for 25 points to lead the Red Lions’ rise from a two-game skid.
“Nakuha rin sa sipag,” Alegro blurted out as he rose from the bench to applaud his players.
Blissful was just the exact word to describe his face as he walked toward the locker; it stayed with him, said middle blocker Adrian Viray long after the game. Inside the dressing room so overjoyed was he that he could not find enough appetite to finish off the home-cooked meals prepared and delivered to Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City by the Africas.
He sat on the bench without talking. He was just looking at his players celebrating in the locker, the appetizing food before him untouched for several minutes, reported assistant coach Ariel dela Cruz.
“Binubugbog ko sila ngayon sa training. Mas mahabang oras, mas mahirap na drills,” Alegro said of the kind of training he now subjects his players after the stinging loss to the Bulldogs.
All his 14 players including rookies Amagan and Angelo Torres in this season-ending tournament of the PVL, a collaboration among organizer Sports Vision, official league partner Asics, and official game ball Mikasa, are eligible for the NCAA, where the Red Lions landed in third place the previous season.
Unofficial team manager
Atty. Africa could only smile in acceptance whenever he is referred to as San Beda’s unofficial team manager in volleyball – and basketball as well, he added.
It was his brother, Fr. Eduardo Africa, he said, who started the family’s attachment to the Red Lions and Lionesses in the two sports. “During his time my brother was the sports chaplain of the college on Mendiola. Now that he is away as head of the Bukidnon monastery, the rest of us continue to support the players.”
The complete San Beda lineup: Jomaru Amagan, Gian Carlo Genobaten, Angelo Torres, Adrian Viray, Yeshua Manliclic, Limuel Patenio, Rodel Nellas Casin, Bryan James Gonzales, Ferdinand Ulibas, Mark Christian Enciso, Earl Kenneth Gonzales, Mark Lorenze Santos, John Carlo Desuyo, and Gerald Zabala.
Alegrio Carpio, head coach; Ariel dela Cruz, assistant coach.