DZI Gervacio, a former Lady Eagle and now Banko Perlas Spiker, still felt weird playing against her alma mater but she saw a lot of potential from this generation of Ateneo women’s volleyball team after their match in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference.
Five years after she graduated and already played against her alma mater many times, Gervacio still felt unusual going up against the crowd favorite Lady Eagles but she kept her focus and dropped 14 points to help Perlas Spikers to earn their fourth straight win, 27-25, 25-19, 25-11, on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan City.
“Ganito pala pag kalaban mo yung kakampi ng crowd,” said Gervacio, sharing a laughter with the reporters. “Grabe they were so loud pero siyempre you can’t focus on that, siyempre focus ka lang sa game.”
The 26-year-old Perlas Spiker, who was part of the renaissance of Ateneo volleyball led by the "Fab 5" composed of her, Fille Cainglet-Cayetano, Jem Ferrer, Gretchen Ho and A Nacachi, joked that this generation of Ateneo fans might have already forgotten her after playing through the roaring and screaming crowd at the venue.
“I don’t think they know me anymore,” she continued with laughter. “But siyempre I remember si coach Roger (Gorayeb) before wala pang gaanong fans ang Ateneo it was all La Salle fans. He would always tell us na ‘isipin mo na lang na chinicheer kayo ng mga sumisigaw na yan,’ Siyempre hanggang ngayon ganun pa rin yung mindset.”
And the 5-foot-7 wing spiker was happy to get their first three-set win over Ateneo, which suffered its first loss after a 2-0 start.
“Noong Iloilo and Bacolod, PVL on tour naman namin, we played Ateneo already. We played them four sets, five sets, and fortunately, this time we won and for the first time also this conference na three straight sets so that’s good on our part also for everyone in the team,” she said.
BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz said that Gervacio was just so eager to show the current Lady Eagles her winning attitude.
“Siyempre may gustong patunayan siguro bilang senior. Siguro gusto niya na ang mga bata gayahin sila, yung winning attitude nila,” Dela Cruz said. “Siguro ganoon nga na i-challenge mga bata na dapat mag-strive kayo. Ito naman preparation nila para sa UAAP ang ginagawa namin."
And the coach added that it’s part of Gervacio’s role in stepping this conference, which has been so far so good as she is currently No.2 in scoring with 16.75 points in their 4-0 start.
Kasi sinabihan ko siya na dapat mag-lead talaga siya. Hindi naman na siya lahat, ang ano kasi namin going into this tournament dapat lahat mag-contribute kasi wala naman kaming star players eh. I just so happen na si Dzi siguro kinukuha niya ang responsibility bilang go-to player ngayon.
Despite beating her alma mater, Gervacio sees a bright future in this batch of the Lady Eagles believing that they are in good hands under new coach Oliver Almadro, who steered the Ateneo men’s volleyball team to three titles.
“They have so much potential, eight rookies right? Tapos they’re tall, pinagtatawanan namin ni Ella (De Jesus) na buti na lang graduate na tayo kasi for sure we’re gonna be shortest one in the team,” Gervacio said. “But yun nga they have so much potential especially with the mentor like Coach O plus several championships na under his belt. He coached naman before, he has a history of coaching in women’s. It’s just a matter of time for them to click also.”