Key additions along with familiar sights are set to play in the UAAP Beach Volleyball Tournament. The DLSU spikers are set to retaliate this season as the Green Spikers try to improve on their 1-6 win-loss record last season, whereas the Lady Spikers aim for the top spot in the podium after finishing in third place in Season 79.
Carlo Sendo will be returning to compete, along with Wayne Marco and Cris Dumago, after he stopped a couple of years ago to focus on his studies. “We will take it one step at a time na makapasok sa Final Four, one game at a time and then the rest will follow na ayun sana makapasok kami ng Final Four and then hopefully we will battle for the championship,” Sendo explains.
Meanwhile, the Lady Spikers will be bannered by veteran Tin Tiamzon, who will be joined by May Luna and CJ Saga. “We [Luna] have chemistry off the court so it was just like riding a bicycle, parang we’re used to each other na so hindi naman kami naninibago sa isa’t isa,” claims Tiamzon.
Lady Spikers aspire to reach Final Four
After falling short against the FEU Tamaraws last season, the tandem of Luna and Tiamzon are now faced with the challenge of reclaiming the title, with Saga as their third-man. The pair claims of knowing each other really well on and off the court, which gives them less problems with team chemistry. “Di ko maexplain eh pero alam mo yung bond namin di lang sa loob ng court pero like…we’re best friends kasi so nagkakaintindihan kami,” says Luna.
(I can’t explain it but we have a certain bond inside the court and we’re best friends so we understand each other.)
The team focused on conditioning as a significant aspect in their training to help sustain endurance and stamina inside the court. Movement and proper placing were also emphasized in training as a preparation for the upcoming tournament. “Pwestuhan yung bola and also sa setting to have a good set for your partner so your partner can kill the ball,” explains Tiamzon. Also, the junior pointed out trust and composure as key aspects to stay on top. “Stay calm on the court even if everything is hectic around you, stay calm, trust your partner and also to have fun and to want to win,” she adds further.
With the departure of the league’s best setter, Kim Fajardo, from the team, the Lady Spikers will surely miss the mature and experienced presence of the veteran. “She has so much experience sa beach volley so without her this year, I guess we’ll try to gain our own experience so that we’ll be ready for our own competition and as the season goes on, sana we’ll learn a lot of things and to hopefully improve by the end of it,” Tiamzon concludes.
Green Spikers to face high hurdles
Last season, the Green Spikers prematurely ended their campaign with a record of one win and six losses, finishing at seventh place. Looking to bounce back to improve last season’s run, Sendo comes back to play for La Salle after taking a one year break. After finishing his undergraduate studies, Sendo went back to DLSU to take up his Master’s degree, but decided to focus on being a student as he did not play last Season 79. Nonetheless, when coach Noram Miguel asked if he could play once more, since the team was lacking a player, Sendo decided to return for the Green-and-White.
Being out of the game for a year, Sendo had to train twice as hard as his teammates to get his strength back, “I was out for one year and it’s hard to gain your strength ulit sa training. So yung fitness mo wala, so ayun mahirap pero araw-araw ako nag wo-work out, araw-araw ako tumatakbo tapos nag-training na kami sa beach.”
(I was out for one year and it’s hard to kind of gain your strength back during training. It’s like my fitness is gone so it’s hard, but I work out everyday, I run everyday and we started training already in the beach).
Although a championship is the obvious goal for the Green Spikers, the hope for improvement and for further success is something the team is concentrating on. Three seasons of disappointing finishes have ignited the fire in them for the upcoming season. This year, the Green Spikers are planning to build on what they lacked in the previous seasons. “Lack in preparation. That is what we came up with this year, that we would make sure we get to train on sand because it is really different training indoors and training on sand. Yeah, it is also tiring to train indoors, but on sand it’s three times the exhaustion, so it is really different to train on sand,” Sendo highlights in Filipino.
Nothing advanced or any special training technique will be at the forefront of the team’s preparations as Sendo explained that the key to win the championship will be good communication between the players and having good stamina to keep up in the game. He also mentions that the team trained to constantly read their opponents and to constantly think of their game plan, which he believes will be a major key for the team’s success.
UST, as the reigning beach volleyball champions in both divisions, remains a threat to both teams as Sendo and Tiamzon mentions that they are the team to beat. ADMU, which was Season 78’s champion, and FEU, who finished third last UAAP season, are also strong opponents to consider.
Both teams ended their seasons with contrasting results, but will go in the tournament with the same goal in mind: To bring the titles to Taft.