The DLSU Spiker teams ended in contrasting fashion to conclude Season 75 as the Lady Spikers successfully completed La Salle’s three-peat quest while the Green Spikers took yet another bump in the road.
Successfully winning a third straight title this season, the Lady Spikers stymied the Ateneo Lady Eagles once again after sweeping the match, 25-23, 25-20, 25-16, last March 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Lady Spikers Head Coach Ramil De Jesus expressed,“Sweet siya kasi ito ‘yung fruit of labor [of the team], lalo na sa mga bata kasi alam ko pinaghirapan nila ito. Sweet ito kasi magandang exit ito sa dalawang senior players ko na si [Melissa] Gohing at si [Wensh] Tiu. So masaya ako sa kanila kasi natapos ng maganda [ang playing years nila].”
Ending at fourth last season, the Green Spikers improved to a third place finish after bowing down to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in straight sets, 25-23, 25-21, 25-13, last February 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Green Spikers Head Coach Sam Acaylar explained, “We want to be in the Finals, but you know sometimes we cannot understand the game. I don’t know what happened. I’m so sad [because] ganoon ang nilaro ng mga bata so wala akong magagawa.”
Both teams landed a bundle of awards and recognitions this season. For the Lady Spikers, Team Captain Abi Marano and sophomore sensation Ara Galang received the season co-MVP honors while Marano received the Best Blocker award this season.
Marano expressed, “I’m very thankful na maraming supporters sa La Salle ngayon. Maganda na nakikita naming ang support ng Lasallians kasi na booboost ang morale namin at lalo kaming nagiging eager na maglaro ng maganda sa court.”
Meanwhile, Michelle Gumabao was hailed Finals MVP. Gumabao shared, “Getting that [Finals MVP] award is a big thing for me, [and] a very good blessing; as of the moment, I’m very thankful on what I’ve got.”
On the other hand, Red Christensen of the Green Spikers received the co-MVP honors along with Mark Alfafara of the UST Growling Tigers.
Facing different challenges
The two teams entered the season via totally different paths.
The Lady Spikers encountered an early setback after losing to the UST Tigresses in their opening game in five sets, 22-25, 13-25, 25-12, 25-21, 9-15 at the FilOil Flying Arena.
Since then, the Lady Spikers never looked back and started to pile up 16 consecutive wins en route to the championship clincher. With the Lady Spikers out-muscling teams in convincing fashion last season, things were different this time around.
The Green Spikers had a slow star in this season before picking up its game in the later part of the round to carry a 4-3 record into the second round.
The Green Skiers then surged harder to climb up at third place at the end of the second round. Unfortunately, the team faced a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the FEU Tamaraws, which made it harder to earn a ticket to the Finals.
Carrying their team’s loads
Every team has its set of top gunners.
For the Lady Spikers, Galang led the team in scoring with a total of 176 accumulated points in the elimination round. The Angeles University Foundation standout also booked 134 spikes, 24 blocks and 18 service aces.
Team Captain Marano followed suit, posting norms of 152 points via 95 spikes. She also posted a league-best of 44 blocks and 13 service aces.
Futhermore, the Lady Spikers has secured the team’s position as the best blocking, serving, digging and setting team in the league with an average of three blocks, two service aces, nine digs, and eight settings per set respectively. The team is also the second best team in spike successions with a 32 percent clip.
For the Green Spikers, Myco Antonio led the team with a total of 202 points via 174 spikes to go along with his 22 blocks and 6 service aces. Christensen followed up with a total of 168 points on 131 spikes to go along with 27 blocks and 10 service aces.
The Green Spikers is also the best blocking team in the men’s division with an average of three per set.
Another season awaits
With both of their seasons officially in the record books, each team’s coaches are looking at the next season.
Coach Acaylar argued that his team needs to have heart and fighting spirit. He added, “We have to practice again. We set out minds to this pagkatalo, para makita talaga kung anong dapat nating gawin. Kung ano ba talaga ang kulang. Ever since naman sinabi ko na that the heart of my team is not so well-developed.”
Coach De Jesus stress on the other hand stressed, “Di ko pa iniisip yung next year kasi mahabang practice to, gusto ko munang magpahinga [ang team] kasi gusto namin magpahinga kasi medyo mahaba itong UAAP.”