DLSUís UAAP Season 80: challenging but satisfying
The De La Salle University Lady Spikers survived a challenging year and reaped the sweet reward of their hard work.
De La Salle University completed its third grand slam after a sweet sweep of Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball best-of-three Finals Wednesday.
The Lady Spikers looked like the same dangerous squad that dominated the field in the last two years with a masterful domination of a rival squad, which made it to the Finals for the first time in nine years.
But head coach Ramil De Jesus, who bagged his 11th title in 18 championship stints and third grand slam since Seasons 66 to 68 and Seasons 73 to 75, admitted that DLSU’s road to glory wasn’t a smooth one.
In fact, the Lady Spikers struggled early and needed a lot of adjustment.
“Well ah, very hard kasi start ng eliminations shaky ‘yung team e,” said De Jesus after DLSU’s 26-24, 25-20, 26-24, Game 2 win at the Big Dome.
DLSU came into the season missing the services of veteran setter Kim Fajardo, who graduated the year before. De Jesus had to rely on an untested setter in Michelle Cobb.
The Lady Spikers suffered a five-set defeat against National University and for the first time in 10 years, DLSU dropped a four-set match to Adamson University.
“Twice kami natalo so, yun ang sinasabi ko sa kanila, pag nag-start ang season di naman tayo masyadong ready,” he said. “Sa haba ng season, naayos namin kung ano yung naging problema ng team.”
De Jesus admired the patience and perseverance of his wards.
“Ready naman sila na maayos ang sarili nila. Alam mo na hindi ganun ka-tibay yung team. Nawala yung mako-consider ko na number one setter sa Pilipinas, si Kim Fajardo. Mahirap palitan yun,” De Jesus added. “’Pag setter nawala, shaky ang team.”
“Very thankful ako nag-step up si Cobb,” said De Jesus of Cobb, who averaged 8.26 excellent sets per frame in the eliminations and 6.3 sets per frame in the Finals.
With his setter already comfortable with her role, De Jesus steered the Lady Spikers to 11 straight victories to close the season.
Just like in the past two decades, De Jesus saw the last game of graduating players Kim Kianna Dy, Finals Most Valuable Player libero Dawn Macandili and skipper Majoy Baron.
“Every year naman may mawawala. Kung meron magtityaga mag-step up ganun naman lagi ‘yun,” he said. “In my 20 years, laging may nawawala at laging may nagsstep up. Yun siguro. Kung walang materials, yun ang magiging problema.”
De Jesus and the Lady Spikers will savor their sweet conquest today.
The drive for a historic four-peat will have to wait for now.
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