BEHIND their amazing 5-0 start, BanKo head coach Dong dela Cruz has been banking on the depth, teamwork, and underrated talent of the Perlas Spikers to seize the solo lead in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference.
Although their winning streak was on the rocks against Tacloban, the deep roster of the Perlas Spikers saved them from the Fighting Warays with a 25-21, 23-25, 29-27, 25-18 conquest on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
“Kumbaga naghukay ako, nagpunta ako sa bench ‘yung pagpasok ni Amy (Ahomiro) at tsaka si Sue (Roces) nagiba yung tempo ng laro medyo na-off balance yung Tacloban nun kaya nakahabol kami,” said Dela Cruz, whose wards fought back from a 15-21 third set deficit before momentarily stealing the momentum in the fourth set to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Dzi Gervacio and Nicole Tiamzon have been the leaders of the team in scoring as both hitters are part of the Top 10 scorers in the league.
But for Tiamzon, who poured 20 points off 15 attacks, three service aces and a pair of blocks to help Gervacio’s 23 points, 16 digs and nine receptions, they are just living up to their role and it’s still a total team effort.
“Sabi nga ni coach, kahit sino ‘yung hugutin mo sa bench nakakapagcontribute naman. So pag binigyan ka ng task, pag binigyan ka ng opportunity makapaglaro gawin mo yung part mo,” Tiamzon said. “Hindi ka man makapatay sa opensa bawi ka sa depensa.”
Dela Cruz agreed and that’s what he wants to see from his players this Open Conference.
“From the start naman sabi ko sa mga player, everybody must contribute kasi wala kaming star player eh,” he said. “Although may lumulutang na players but hindi naman consistent na ganun lagi laro nila. Gumagawa sila pero minsan wala, minsan andun. So we have to work as a team.”
“Ginagawan namin ng paraan na maximize ‘yung strength namin at magawan ng paraan yung mga weaknesses naman namin, which is medyo maliliit kami, nagcocompensate naman yung floor defense namin,” he added.
At 5-0 a lot can still happen as they will play double-round elimination but the BanKo coach insisted that his players are disciplined enough to avoid consistency.
“Kahit kailan hindi kami nagkukumpiyansa, kahit sinong team ang kalaban hindi kami nakukumpiyansa kasi alam namin na isang mali namin pwede ka na matalo ganun yung team namin,” Dela Cruz said. “‘Yung confidence lang namin ngayon kasi nagpapanalo pero one game at a time kami yun lang ang ano ko sa team, Walang kapressure, pressure sa amin kasi this elimination is to win games as much as we can. Objective namin makapasok sa Final Four.”
Tiamzon agreed that they still have a lot of things to work on.
“Marami pa kaming kailangan ayusin first ball namin, ‘yung lumalamang kami tapos minsan di namin masusustain. Consistency namin,” the UP standout said.
The Perlas Spikers will finally have a week-long break after a bronze medal finish in the Vinh Long Volleyball Cup in Vietnam last week and playing three games in a row in the PVL and will brace for Creamline Cool Smashers next week.