They say that when there’s a will, there’s a way. For the DLSU Green Spikers’ head coach Ronald Dulay, he found his will through his sheer love for volleyball. However, he found his way not as a player, but as a coach for the team.
Raised in a family with a huge room for volleyball in their hearts, Dulay’s interest in playing the sport was inevitable. He says, “Parang namana ko na ito sa uncle ko na mahilig mag-volleyball.” He started to play the sport when he was still in elementary and eventually he joined the varsity team in his high school years.
Being prompted by his coach before, Dulay would always tryout for the volleyball Youth Team. Unfortunately, he was never selected because of his lack of height. “Ever since, height [talaga] yung kailangan eh,” says Dulay. “So parang naisip ko nun siguro… [kung] ‘di naman ako makuhang player sa ngayon, in the future, baka makuha ako diyan as a coach,” he adds, “Yun yung tandang-tanda ko na sinabi ko nung nasa high school pa lang ako.”
He continued playing volleyball as an athlete in FEU for college where he finished his five years of playing eligibility in the UAAP. Dulay was the team captain for three years and was able to notch up three championship titles in his stay.
As a coach
As a veteran coach with more than twenty years of experience, one might get intimidated by him, but like every other coach, Dulay had his humble beginnings. After he exhausted his playing years in the UAAP, he started helping out in the training of his former school, Philippine Cultural College, and FEU, where he was exposed to the different jobs of a coach.
Dulay then came to DLSU in the early 90’s. Ramon Campos, the DLSU Assistant Director in Sports Development, recruited him in those days due to the University’s need for a coach that can handle the men’s volleyball team. “Actually, dalawa kami [kinuha]. Tapos hanggang sa ako [na lamang] natira,” shares Dulay.
Throughout his years of handling the team, La Salle won its first UAAP Men’s Volleyball Championship title back in 2001, which was followed by another one a couple of years later. “After nun, nahirapan na kami mag-regroup hanggang sa nawala na kami [sa championship].”
Dulay says that he is not a fulltime coach in La Salle. He mentions that alongside La Salle, he is also handling a couple of teams. One of which is the Foton Tornadoes, a newly formed club team participating in the Philippine SuperLiga.
According to Dulay, one of the challenges that he faced in his coaching career is the recruitment of players. He says it was hard recruiting players when you are competing against other schools, which provide better offers than yours. The coach would need to convince the parents, coaches, and the player himself to join his team. Sometimes, they would try to recruit some players from PE who they think have some potential in the sport. “So pinagtiyatiyagaan natin yun [sa training]. Hanggang sa maging good player na siya.”
Despite the challenges that he faces, Dulay still can’t let go of volleyball. “Mahal ko kasi itong isport na ‘to,” he says. “Actually, ilang beses na akong nagtrabaho pero bumalik pa rin ako dito.” His experience as a player and as a coach prevents him from stopping. He adds, “[M]arami akong naging kaibigan. Marami akong natutunan dito sa isports na ‘to.”
A heart to win
After a rough start in this season’s UAAP, Coach Dulay says that they are focusing on conditioning the minds of the players. According to him, the Spikers relaxed at the game’s final moments. “Siguro yung heart to win. Na parati nilang ilagay sa isip nila na every game, kailangan may puso ka para manalo.” It’s not enough to have just the skills, according to him. Teamwork plus the will to win has to be there to be able to claim the victory.