LA Salle booked its ninth semis appearance and 10th post-season in a row in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament but for head coach Ramil de Jesus they’re just keeping the tradition alive.
Back-to-back defending champion La Salle earned the first Final Four berth as it improved to 9-2 after a straight-set win over University of the East, 25-8, 25-14, 25-12, on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
“Siguro hard work ‘yun (semis streak) tapos pangalawa ‘yung mga bata kasi generation to next generation, ‘yun siguro ang nakikita nila sa mga iniiwan sa kanila ng mga senior players nila and then naa-adapt nila ang tradition ng team,” said de Jesus.
The 10-time UAAP champion coach stressed that in his 20 years with La Salle, the players have only one distinct character.
De Jesus, who steered the Taft-based squad to 18 postseason stints overall, takes pride in all the players who have donned the green and white jersey.
Over the years, de Jesus has developed some of the country’s best volleyball players including Manila Santos, Maureen Penetrante-Ounano, Jacqueline Alarca, Desiree Hernandez, Cha Cruz, Paneng Mercado, Michele Gumabao, Mel Gohing, Aby Maraño, Ara Galang, Kim Fajardo and Mika Reyes.
“Isa kasi sa mga hinahanap ng team ‘yung hindi pupwedeng papasok ka lang sa loob ng court so dapat ‘yung heart nandoon palagi,” he said.
“So all out palagi, ‘yung character dapat dinidevelop inside and outside the court,” he added.
For graduating opposite spiker Kim Dy, all their achievements are all because of de Jesus and his coaching staff.
“It’s a good feeling na we’re back sa Final Four and we owe it all to our coach na ganoon ang tradition ng La Salle kasi magaling ang coach namin he trains us to be the best that we can be so we show it sa games,” she said.
But they must not stop there.
La Salle will face University of Santo Tomas on April 8 after a two-week break, Adamson University on April April 11 and Ateneo on April 15.
“I think training pa ng training and syempre kailangan hindi mawala ‘yung condition namin,” said Dy.