After a fourth place finish in the recently held Philippine National Games, the DLSU Green Spikers are raring for more volleyball action before the start of UAAP Season 78 as they take part in the newly founded Spikers’ Turf tournament.
Last year, Sports Vision Management Group, Inc., the organizers of the Shakey’s V-League tournament, introduced a men’s division for the different men’s volleyball teams in the country. This year, however, the organizers of the league decided to have a separate tournament for the men’s division instead, which gave way to the launch of the Spikers’ Turf.
Twelve teams divided into two groups are participating in its first collegiate conference, with most of the teams coming from the UAAP and NCAA. The preliminary round had already started last July 13 and is expected to finish by August 12.
The Green Spikers’ first assignment is a tough one as they take on the reigning UAAP Men’s Volleyball champions, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, on Wednesday. The Green-and-White squad is also set to face the Arellano University Chiefs, the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, the De La Salle University – Dasmariñas Patriots, and the University of Philippines – Diliman Fighting Maroons, as they go deeper into the tournament in the next few weeks.
The team is undergoing a transition phase after the graduation of several key players. Former UAAP MVP Red Christensen has already maximized his eligibility, along with veterans Aaron Calderon and Brendan Santos. Raymark Woo, a vital cog who was out last season due to an injury, was named team captain and will now lead the squad filled with new recruits into the Spikers’ Turf.
In UAAP Season 77, the Green Spikers finished at a lackluster sixth place after winning only four games in the elimination round. Despite several strong efforts from Christensen and Mike Frey, it was not enough, as they were outclassed by better and stronger rivals throughout the tournament. The team hopes that by participating in more pre-season matches, they could gain the experience needed to get them to a higher finish come next season.
Named to the summer lineup coached by Ronald Dulay are Geuel Asia, Ralph Calasin, Rafael Del Pilar, Cris Dumago, Edmund Jose, Zosimo Maravilla, Jopet Movido, John Onia, Levin Dimayuga, Frey, and Woo. Joining them are recruits Geriant Bacon, Wayne Marco, and Asia’s brother, Reuel.
With a grueling schedule in their hands, the Green Spikers will have to claw for every victory in this pre-season tourney. Far behind the shadows of their female counterparts, the men’s team will look to finally break out on their own stage, now more motivated than ever before.