Behind the numerous championships of formidable athletes, there lies a guiding light that truly paves the way to their victory. As the envoy extraordinaire for the DLSU Lady Spikers, head coach Ramil De Jesus has built a dynasty in UAAP volleyball. With the recent conclusion of the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Finals, De Jesus was able to add yet another championship to his outstanding record.
Dating back to 1996, De Jesus began his stint with La Salle where he brought the Lady Spikers to a fifth-place finish in the 60th edition of the UAAP. Since then, the Green-and-White has earned 10 UAAP titles under the guidance of De Jesus.
As the lead tactician responsible for the consistent success of the Lady Spikers, De Jesus was able to attribute his venerable system to his young team in the recently concluded UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Tournament. The program he established has been built through his three basic principles of passion, hard work, and dedication. To the veteran coach, all are necessary in molding his players and his system.
De Jesus has been able to achieve an outstanding overall win-loss record of 246-65 in his 19 seasons as La Salle’s head coach. The aforementioned principles were evident in the team’s style of play, day in and day out. De Jesus has been known for having a knack of being able to distinguish his player’s individual skills, to be able to fit each member of the team as part of a bigger puzzle. Year after year, he is able to build a team made up of different talents with several individual strengths and weaknesses, and eventually form a cohesive unit.
De Jesus praised his players after their first win against their archrivals in Season 79, saying, “Mas gusto nila manalo. Sabi ko lang sa kanila na magstep-up.”
(They wanted to win more and I just told them to step up.)
As there were also a few barriers to achieving the win, the Lady Spikers finished with an 11-3 win-loss standing during the elimination round of the recently concluded season. De Jesus was then able to engrave his legacy in UAAP sports history anew as he was able to get his team to peak at the perfect time and take home the title once again to Taft.
It was the definite time for the head coach to use their previous losses to find the strength to work for a win. The head coach stated, “[Now,] mas gusto nila manalo, kasi mahirap yung galing ka sa talo tapos biglang babangon ka.”
(Now, they want to win more, it’s harder to instantly recover when coming from a loss.)
As the Lady Spikers headed to their title defense with a relatively young core, De Jesus was able to work from his players’ mistakes and train them to learn from these, showing progress and tenacity in the latter part of the tournament. “Sinabi sa akin ni coach na magfocus lang ako and wag isipin yung error,” Finals Most Valuable Player Desiree Cheng shared on how they remained steadfast despite the ADMU Lady Eagles gaining momentum during Game 1 of the finals.
(Coach Ramil told me to just focus on the game and not think about errors.)
Although, De Jesus is known for his strict and strenuous training sessions, he has also made a mark on the lives of the players he handled as a loving father-figure. He has truly been able to make a significant impact on his players, not only in their volleyball career, but also in life.
Honorable mention: Hans Smit (football), Lauro Crisostomo (table tennis), Aldin Ayo (men’s basketball), and Roland Kraut (tennis)