After a long, gruelling season, the DLSU Green Spikers fell short and ended their UAAP Season 79 Men’s Volleyball Tournament campaign at sixth place. They tied with the AdU Soaring Falcons and the UP Fighting Maroons in terms of the win-loss standings with a 5-9 record.
Into the season
Opening the first round of the season with two losses against the FEU Tamaraws and the UST Growling Tigers, the Green Spikers were immediately put in a disadvantageous position. It was only in their third match that they found their footing and surprised everyone after winning against the then-unbeaten Fighting Maroons in an upset three-set match.
However, they were unable to follow through in their matches against the NU Bulldogs, which were last season’s runner-ups, and the Soaring Falcons. They were able to sneak in another win against the UE Red Warriors before losing against the defending champions the ADMU Blue Eagles to end the first round.
Similar to the opening round, the Green Spikers started the second leg of eliminations with a straight-set loss, this time against the Fighting Maroons, which was followed up with victories over FEU and AdU. However, they still struggled against NU, UST, and ADMU, before closing the round strong with a straight-set win against the Red Warriors.
When the need arises
Losing Raymark Woo to an injury during their first round match against AdU became a turning point for the Green Spikers. They were all pushed to step up their game, especially with more than half of the season still ahead of them.
Team captain and setter Geuel Asia told his teammates that they should not dwell on their loss too much because they had what it takes to fill up the gap left by Woo. “Kung baga, step-up na lang tayo every game. Tsaka wag nating isipin na na matatalo tayo ‘pag wala si Woo,” he adds. (We have to step-up every game. And we can’t think that we’re going to lose because of Woo’s absence.)
In effect, Green Spikers Levin Dimayuga, Geraint Bacon, and JD Delos Reyes were given more playing time. And although they had to make multiple quick adjustments, they were able to deliver and show satisfying performances as they season progressed.
Despite the versatility shown by the team, however, head coach Nes Pamilar expressed his hope of a comeback from Woo next year.
After maximizing his playing years, the Green Spikers will head into Season 80 without Asia, who has been their main setter since Season 77. Despite this, Pamilar has confidence that the team will be able to perform well in the following season. “Unang-una kasi, si Wayne [Marco] siguro magkakaroon siya ng kumpyansa sa sarili niya,” he said on their incoming main setter. He explained that Marco was unable to show his true potential because he was overwhelmed by Asia’s presence. “So, siguro after nitong UAAP na ‘to… Dun siguro mailalabas niya [yung potential niya].”
(Wayne [Marco] will gain self-confidence. After the UAAP season, he will be able to showcase his potential.)
Moreover, Pamilar said that the team’s main and only problem is their mindset. “Halos lahat naman ng training namin, medyo nagawa eh,” he said, “Yun lang siguro, yung mindset nila na ganun lang sila. Parang hindi sila naniniwala na kaya nilang pumasok ng Final Four o manalo ng marami.”
(They’re able to follow most of their training. It’s their mindset. They don’t believe that they can enter the Final Four or gain several wins.)
Likewise, Asia expressed his faith on the team’s ability to be able to manage without him as long as they work as a team. “Tulungan nila yung bawat isa na mag-step up every game or every training,” he added, “Mataas naman potential nila. Kung baga, kaya naman nila.”
(They should help each other step-up every game or every training. They have a lot of potential. They can do it.)
The season may have ended a little bit too soon for the Green Spikers, but they have shown great promise in their ability to rise up in the tournament’s ranks. “Sana next UAAP, yung mga players, mas maadopt na nila yung sistemang pinagagawa sa kanila para pagdating ng Season 80, mas maging maganda ang performance nila,” Pamilar concluded.
(Hopefully next UAAP, the players can adopt the system better, so when Season 80 rolls around, their performance will improve.)