IT took nine long, exhausting hours before University of Santo Tomas women’s volleyball team reached home on Sunday after its Saturday match in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.
UST made short work of College of St. Benilde, the match ending at 6:30 p.m. but the team arrived at the dorm the following day at 3:30 a.m.
PVL matches pushed through despite a red warning issued by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
“‘Yung bus kasi iisa lang ang way na daanan, from San Juan Arena labas nila N. Domingo,” said UST assistant coach Ian Fernandez.
From the playing venue, UST had to take Santolan Road, N. Domingo St, Araneta Avenue, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard before reaching Nagtahan Bridge, Lacson Avenue and then España Boulevard.
The trouble came as early as Araneta Ave., with the flood already waist deep.
The players had to eat street food with the traffic at a standstill, and they whiled the hours away by singing.
“Pagdating kasi sa tulay (near Araneta Ave. cor. Ramon Magsaysay Blvd.), lahat ng sasakyan ayaw nang umandar dahil baha na V. Mapa/Araneta (intersection),” said Fernandez.
“Tapos ‘yung mga bata, bumaba muna para kumain doon somewhere doon sa area,” he added.
Meanwhile, coach Mesio Gavino and players Nieza and Ela Viray had to take public transportation and wade through flood waters with the San Beda University bus not available for the match.
On their way back to their dorms at SBU and Bacood, Sta. Mesa areas, respectively, they needed to brave the waist-deep flood just to get home.
“Di kasi available ‘yung team bus kaya nagkanya-kanya kami,” shared Gavino. “Nag-commute ako, bumaba na ako ng bus at lumusong ako sa baha sa V. Mapa kasi ‘di na makatawid (‘yung bus) from tulay to SM Centerpoint mga one hour ako doon.”
“‘Yung players naman, ‘yung kambal nastranded sa SM Centerpoint nilusong ‘yung baha naglakad sa baha na 9 p.m.,” he added.
At first, Gavino advised Nieza and Ela to stay safe and dry at the mall but the two eventually decided to wade through flooded waters to make it to their dorm before the curfew.
“Si Nieza nga may pa ‘yun, minor lang naman na sprained ankle pero naglakad na sila kasi may curfew ng 10:30 p.m.,” said Gavino.
“Maging aware na lang kapag ganoon na kalakas ‘yung ulan umuwi na agad,” he said. “Kasi mahirap na magbook ng Grab. Noong naglalaro ata kami (around 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.) ang lakas na noong ulan.”
CSB coach Jerry Yee reached home in Manila at 12 a.m. He started the same route as others but he managed to find another way after deciding to meet some friends instead than brave the flooded areas.
“I was headed back (to) Manila, I made it to Aurora (Blvd) before UERM but had to turn back coz Araneta/Aurora was chest-deep,” he said. “I spend an hour in Agora (San Juan) then decided to go to a get together instead,” he added. “went back home at 12 midnight though EDSA, Roxas Boulevard to Manila.”