ARA Galang's injury leaves a big void in the La Salle Lady Spikers' bid to wrest the UAAP women's volleyball crown from arch-rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles.
National University coach Roger Gorayeb made the observation and said it’s up for the rest of the Lady Spikers to step up and fill the gap left by their leading scorer and acknowledged leader from Angeles City.
Gorayeb, whose National University Lady Bulldogs lost to the Taft-based school on Saturday in their do-or-die encounter for the last finals berth, clarified he’s not underestimating La Salle’s chances to upend the thrice-to-beat Lady Eagles in the title series.
But the national coach admitted the loss of Galang will be hard to fill.
“It will be very, very difficult. Pero hindi naman slim ‘yung chance nila,” Gorayeb said when asked about La Salle's chances against Ateneo without Galang.
The La Salle star suffered an ACL tear on her left knee as well as damage to her medial collateral ligament after landing awkwardly during the late goings of La Salle’s four-set win over the NU Lady Bulldogs.
The recovery period for such injury is a maximum of eight months.
Gorayeb said it will be a challenge for La Salle to play unbeaten Ateneo minus its best player in the finals. The Lady Eagles had swept the Lady Spikers in their two meetings in the eliminations with Galang around.
“It will take a lot of strength para sa La Salle to overcome Ateneo because ‘yung confidence ng Ateneo is very, very high. Super high pa nga,” said Gorayeb, who certainly knows what he's talking about having steered the Lady Eagles to back-to-back runner-up finishes behind La Salle in Seasons 74 and 75.
Like the rest in the country’s volleyball community, Gorayeb said he only hopes for the best for Galang as no one wants someone to get injured in the game even if she belongs to the other side.
“Siyempre ang hirap. Even as a coach, ayaw mo ‘yung isang player na masaktan, kahit pa ‘yan ‘yung ace player mo o ‘yung pinakamahina mong player. I feel sorry for her and for La Salle. Sana maka-recover siya agad dahil kawawa naman ‘yung bata,” he said.