After failing to stand on the podium in their respective divisions, the Taft-based squads hope to improve their rankings in the upcoming Beach Volleyball competition. The Green Spikers will try to improve their sixth place finish with a 2-5 win-loss record last Season 80. Meanwhile, the Lady Spikers, after having failed a podium finish last year—placing fourth, are in the hopes to take back the championship from the defending champions, the UST Golden Tigresses.
A young team
The men’s team of La Salle is composed of two who would be competing for the sport for the first time, Raphael Sumalinog and Paul Serrano, with returnee, Geraint Bacon. Having only one month to prepare, the team had to extensively train to prepare themselves for the season. Along with training three times a week for two hours every other day, the team made an effort to study their opponents in the upcoming tournament. “So we trained every MWF; we also watched some of last season’s Beach Volleyball videos on youtube para may idea lang paano gumalaw yung mga ibang teams” says Bacon.
(So we trained every MWF; we also watched some of last season’s beach volleyball videos on YouTube so that we have an idea how the other teams move.)
The past track record of the Green Spikers had not been the best in the past seasons, but coach Norman Miguel has seen the steady development of the team since last year. With UAAP Season 81, Miguel has stated that nothing huge is expected with the new tandem created by the coaching staff. Nonetheless, focusing on familiarizing themselves with one another and developing good communication with one another on and off court is what Miguel wants his players to have to prepare themselves for the tournament.
As Bacon reiterates, the team’s main objective for this year is to improve their rank from last season. Finishing with a higher rank compared to Season 80 is what he and the rest of the team hope to achieve. Bacon also doesn’t look too far, just wanting to be the best in each and every game they play. “Our mindset is one game at a time. Slowly, until hopefully, we can get to the top. And like I said, connection inside the sand court is important,” he says.
In addition, just like his athlete, Miguel simply wants to take on Season 81 bit by bit and learn to take steps toward being the best version of themselves each time around. “Just play their best one game at a time, be mentally and physically tough, and [have] the will and hunger to win every game,” Miguel states. Seeing that all other teams will also try their best, and having quite a disadvantage of being a relatively new team, Miguel just wants the passion and the will to win to come from his players.
Redemption for the Lady Spikers
After coming up short in the stepladder semifinals last Season 80, the DLSU Lady Spikers look to bounce back with a revamped lineup, which sees recently transferred Michelle Morente play for the Green and White for the first time. The lineup for this season’s tournament also consists of current Lady Spikers May Luna and Tin Tiamzon. When asked about what she thought of last season’s outcome, Morente states that, “I think naging okay naman yung laro nila kaso we fell short lang.”
Aside from looking back at last year’s performances, Morente also reflects on the circumstances that surround her as an athlete. “Biggest concern ko lang is medyo—well, di ko naman kine-question yung connection namin ni Tin ‘cause we’ve been teammates for one year na—siguro yung condition ko lang as a player kasi I haven’t played beach volleyball in a long time so, siguro yun din.” Despite the fact that she hasn’t been in the sand for quite a while now, the full-fledged Lady Spiker will do her best to don the Green-and-White in this year’s Beach Volleyball battle.
(My biggest concern is—well, I’m not questioning my connection with Tin because we’ve been teammates for one year already—probably my condition as a player as I haven’t played beach volleyball in a long time, so that too.)
The Lady Spikers won their sole championship in beach volleyball last Season 78, and the current Lady Spikers are hoping that they can add another to that. When asked about what their key to winning will be, Morente states that, “Feeling ko kailangan lang namin kumapit ni Tin. Also, listen to our coaches, sabi nila na sana ma-apply pa namin sa games yung tinuro nila kasi sila yung mas nakakakita sa mistakes namin, yung mga kailangan namin i-adjust sa loob ng court.”
(I think Tin and I just need to hold on. Also, listen to our coaches, they hope we can apply what we learn from them in our games since they’re the ones who really see our mistakes, the adjustments we need to make inside the court.)
Expectations are high for the Spikers as they have a talented and experienced lineup who are all already champions on the court but are yet to be champions on the sand.