MANILA, Philippines – The game has changed and De La Salle Lady Spikers coach Ramil de Jesus knows it.
After a second consecutive Finals defeat to back-to-back champions Ateneo Lady Eagles, the 8-time UAAP champion coach admitted it is high time for his team so level up and match a “world class” volleyball system.
“Kailangan talaga bumawi and then mag-prepare, and i-adopt yung bagong system,” De Jesus shared what he believes La Salle must do in order to come back stronger next season.
“Kasi ito yung nadala sa atin ng Thai coach, kailangan habulin. Lahat magbe-benefit even yung volleyball community dito sa Philippines.”
(We really need to recover and then prepare, and adopt the new system. This is what the Thai coach brought to us, and we need to catch up. Everyone will benefit from it, even the volleyball community here in the Philippines.)
De Jesus, who also won a pair of 3-peats in the UAAP, said Thai coach Anusorn “Tai” Bundit brought to Ateneo the volleyball system from Thailand, which is on a different level compared to what Filipinos are accustomed to.
“Alam naman natin yung Thailand nagco-compete sila sa Grand Prix so world class sila,” he explained. “Yung system nila dinala rito sa Philippines at in-adopt ng Ateneo so kailangan din natin mag-adopt kasi ito na yung level.”
(We know Thailand competes in the Grand Prix so they are world class. Their system was brought here to the Philippines and it was adopted by Ateneo so we also need to adopt it because this is the new level now.)
Thailand is, indeed, a powerhouse when it comes to volleyball. Its national team is an 11-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games and has held the crown for the last 7 editions since 2001.
In the Asian Games, they’ve been a consistent 5th to 6th place finisher since 1966 and finally broke through with a bronze medal during last year’s Asiad in Incheon, South Korea.
They also compete in various world tournaments such as the annual FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, where they achieved their highest place so far of 4th in 2012.
Thailand is 12th in the International Volleyball Federation women’s world rankings as of October, 2014.
Bundit, who was a mult-titled former Thailand national team member himself, evidently transplanted that volleyball excellence over to the Lady Eagles, who even traveled to their coach’s homeland for a pre-season camp.
“Solid performance yung Ateneo,” De Jesus said, before explaining how the tables have turned on La Salle.
“Ever since naman kami yung nagha-handle ng situation, kami yung nagdo-dominate. Ngayon kami naman yung naghahabol ng ganitong level, so kailangan lang siguro mag-adjust talaga ng system.”
(Ateneo’s performance is solid. Ever since, we always handled the situation, we were the ones who dominated. Now we’re the ones running to catch up to this level, so we just need to adjust our system.)
De Jesus has his work cut out for him in preparing La Salle for next season. He lost two players to serious knee injuries, including his team captain and top scorer Ara Galang.
There is no specific timeline yet for Galang’s return, and De Jesus is still uncertain whether she will make it to next season as she needs 8 months to recover.
RELATED: Feeling helpless, Galang focuses on recovery before La Salle comeback
“Hindi ko masasabi kasi nasa bata rin yun kung gaano siya ka-determined mag-therapy,” said De Jesus, who bared Galang’s absence was too much to overcome, and had she been available, La Salle probably would not have gone down in straight sets for two games.
(I can’t say because it’s up to the kid how determined she will be in therapy.)
“Talagang pagdating ng middle ng game, doon nakikita na unti-unting bumibitaw kasi wala yung leader. Malaking kawalan.” (When they reach the middle of the game, you see them slowly letting go because they have no leader. It was a huge loss.)
And compared to last year’s defeat, where the roles were reversed and Ateneo took down a similarly undefeated thrice-to-beat La Salle, De Jesus said this one stung less.
“Mas painful last year considering thrice-to-beat kami noon. Ngayon after kasi nung knockout, doon pa na-injure si Ara,” he explained.
“So mahirap mag-adjust yung mga bata. Psychological kasi, hirap mag-adjust. Mas maganda sana kung medyo maaga nangyari para naka-adjust yung team.”
(Last year was more painful considering we were thrice-to-beat then. This time though after the knockout, Ara was injured. So it was difficult for the kids to adjust. It was psychological, hard to adjust. It would’ve been better if it happened earlier so the team could have adjusted.)
But despite being two players down – the other injured player being outside hitter Camille Cruz – the Lady Spikers are practically intact next year with most of their veterans still with at least one playing year left.
“Good ending naman,” De Jesus still commended his players. “Even though nawala yung top scorer namin maganda yung performance ng mga bata.” (It was still a good ending. Even though we didn’t have our top scorer the kids still put on a good performance.) – Rappler.com
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