WONDER why the De La Salle Lady Spikers are not joining any preseason volleyball league?
Head coach Ramil de Jesus explained that his team is not yet ready to see action in major leagues.
Most UAAP teams joined either in Premier Volleyball League or Philippine Superliga, some even playing in both. All except for La Salle and National University, which suddenly pulled out during the Collegiate Conference.
Collegiate Conference third placer Adamson and Ateneo are currently part of the Open Conference field while previous PVL Conference finalists UP and FEU along with fourth placer UST and UE will see action in the inaugural PVL Collegiate Grand Slam, which fires off on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
De Jesus said that he didn’t want his team to join a major league at a time when they are not ready, especially now that they lost the veteran trio of Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili.
“Nagkakataon lang talaga na mas binibigyan ko ng priority yung recovery ng mga bata at pag-aayos sa team kasi mahirap yung laging naglalaro pero wala kang naaayos sa team mo kung ano yung gusto mong mangyari sa team mo,” the 11-time UAAP champion coach said. “Then, mahirap yung papasok ka sa major league na mayroong kulang yung team tapos bigla mong hahabulin pagka season na so too late na.”
The long-time De La Salle coach admitted that they are far from the level of the other teams at the moment.
“Wala. Malayo kami ngayon pero naghahabol pa kami, mahaba pa naman, may four months pa para mag-prepare sa UAAP so yung iba talaga intact naman yung line-up so we’ll see,” he said.
“Naghahabol pa kami kung ano pa yung nawala sa team namin, hinahanap ko pa kung sino yung pepuwedeng maipalit doon sa mga nawala so medyo mabigat yung nawala.”
Even in the recently concluded UniGames in Dumaguete — the only preseason league joined by NU, De Jesus didn’t field their senior players but still ended up at fourth place.
“Sa ngayon hindi kami nagsasasali pero like nung UniGames kasi kahit gusto ko isali yung team hindi eligible, puro masters yung mga players so iilan lang yung pwede,” he said.
But the holdovers of the Lady Spikers: Desiree Cheng, Michelle Cobb, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya, May Luna, and CJ Saga are currently part of F2 Logistics, where they are joined by former La Salle stars in the All-Filipino Conference.
De Jesus’s longtime assistant, Noel Orcullo, said the Cargo Movers stint is part of their training for La Salle.
“Actually, 'yung college namin kasabay lang ng F2 nageensayo. 'Yung level ng laro na nakukuha nila sa F2, parang nahihila na rin sila. Di naman birong team 'yung F2, di ba? Every year, halos nasa top three kami ng bawat conference na sasalihan namin,” Orcullo said.
“Even 'yung high school team namin kasabay din sa ensayo ng F2 at ng college team. Iisang sistema 'yung ini-incorporate ni coach sa mga team so halos nahihila na rin pataas 'yung mga bata," he added.
The La Salle assistant coach said that they are not really allowing their players to play for club teams other than F2 Logistics like what happened to Gyra Barroga and Arianne Layug, who both decided to leave the team and play for Cocolife and Foton, respectively.
“Kami nga, kapag may college player na gusto maglaro sa PSL or PVL, hindi ina-allow ni coach (Ramil),” he said. “Kapag gusto nila maglaro, nasa sa kanila na. Kapag sinabing hindi ni coach at nagpumilit pa rin sila, alam naman nila 'yung nangyayare -- they have to leave the team.”