Doc Volleyball: New Game+
AJ Pareja on Feb 07, 2017 01:40 PM
The addition of Airess Padda as head coach of the Adamson Lady Falcons is a concrete example of attempting to elevate the game through modern techniques in order to out-perform the current trendsetters.
In most Japanese Role Playing Video Games (JRPGs), the recurrent central theme is that the balance of the world is disrupted, a prophesized warrior from a small town emerges, he or she gathers a band of specialized characters, and eventually face off with an ominous worldly threat to restore the balance. In older JRPGs, after conquering the main storyline, one is left with a void and moves on with another game. In most modern JRPGS however, another option is unlocked after beating the main storyline – the New Game+ mode. In New Game+, the player gets the option to replay the main storyline but this time around, they can carry over their progress from their first playthrough. New Game+ however amps up the difficulty to a whole different level as well as opens up new features or plot twists to add more excitement to the game’s storyline. In more ways than one, New Game+ offers players more challenge as well as opportunities to explore their play style.
At the close of UAAP Volleyball Season 78, both teams and fans alike are left with a void. Aside from the expected year-long wait for another exciting season, teams and fans are also confronted with the fact the numerous icons of Season 78 will no longer suit up for Season 79. These icons, the likes of Alyssa Valdez, Myla Pablo, Ara Galang, and Gizelle Sy to name a few, have been the focal point of the general theme of Season 78. More than their in-game contributions to their respective teams, it was also their crowd-drawing star factor that made them the past season’s icons.
Much like in JRPGs, there is always a heavily favored character in a player’s party. That particular character is usually not excluded, has the highest level, the strongest stats, and can singlehandedly beat a major part of the game alone. Going into New Game+ however, the increased difficulty usually makes the favorite player’s dominance negligible. As such, the player is forced to shift attention to the party as a whole. The player is tasked to explore each character’s strengths, weaknesses and more importantly, different ability synergies and combinations in order to conquer the game.
UAAP Season 79 will bring us the transition from icon-centered games to team-centric way of playing. While it can be said that the focus on specific team icons has brought UAAP volleyball’s popularity to tremendous heights, the level of play can only be significantly elevated when the teams develop as a whole. Despite the departure of Season 78 icons, Season 79 has a good share of notable holdovers, who can definitely be explored to elevate the game to better heights. The burden of elevating the game definitely rests on the head coach of each team. It is of no doubt that the introduction of Ateneo’s Thai Heach Coach Anusorn Bundit in previous seasons has changed the game for UAAP volleyball. For quite a while since Bundit’s introduction, even seasoned Filipino coaches were left scratching heads to solve the Thai riddle. It was not until a Season 78 win by La Salle Head Coach Ramil De Jesus that Philippine collegiate volley has come up with the times and finally started to implement innovative volleyball techniques and strategies.
UAAP Season 79 will definitely introduce us to an arms race in terms of modern volleyball techniques.
One notable addition to the faces of UAAP volleyball will be Adamson Head Coach Airess Padda. Adamson’s decision to engage her expertise is a concrete example of attempting to elevate the game through modern techniques in order to out-perform the current trendsetters. In line with that, aside from foreign coaches taking helms in the collegiate setting, we have also witnessed the transition from Thai guest players to Western imports in the professional leagues. The emergence of western influence in the local scene has been a significant contribution to the increasing level of play. More than the emergence of new icons in each team, the crucial factor to claim victory this season will be how each team can innovate their play styles.
It is of no doubt that the demands for a higher level of play in UAAP volleyball has been steadily going on since Bundit’s introduction and season 79 will take it further. In an attempt to elevate their level of play to out-perform other teams, teams will be hard pressed to rely less on certain icons and focus more on adapting techniques that would enhance the synergy of each and every player in the team. More than individuals racking up points in dominant fashion, the challenge to these teams would be how to develop more efficient attack strategies, aggressive serving, disciplined blocking, and less erratic floor defense as a whole.
As the league ramps up the demand for an elevated level of play, teams and their coaches will be hard pressed to develop techniques that would surprise their competitors. While it is expected that certain holdovers will eventually emerge as the new icons, the critical factor for every team will be on how they can execute a new strategy to keep their competition guessing. Season 79 will showcase the surfacing of new techniques, be it Western or Asian, to enhance the level the sport is being played. I couldn’t be more excited to witness this arms race in this UAAP season 79 New Game+ mode.