FAR Eastern University's Remy Palma and La Salle's Mika Reyes are putting their pyschology majors to good use as the mind games between the two middle blockers intensifies heading into their do-or-die showdown in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball Final Four.
Palma believes getting in the nerves of their opponent, specifically Lady Spiker counterpart Reyes, is essential if the Lady Tamaraws hope to topple the secon seeds and reach the Finals for the first time in seven long years.
Palma had her fingerprints all over FEU's come-from-behind 15-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 16-14 win over La Salle on Sunday, pumping in 18 points, from 14 attacks, one block and three service aces.
That's not to mention the taunts and stare downs for La Salle players in the five-set thriller.
“One of my tricks ‘yun (court antics) sa laro kasi mas nakukuha ko ang kumpiyansa ko pag ganoon ako eh,” she said. “Ayun, may times na ayaw na nila tumingin sa akin pero hindi ako nag-stop. Pati [nga] si coach Shaq (Delos Santos) tumutulong na sa akin.”
“Sabi ko, ‘O, bat di ka na nagsasalita?’ Gusto kong ipakita, ‘Mika Reyes ka pero Remy Palma ako. Kaya kita,’ kasi pride ko rin sa sarili ko kaya ako nagiging ganoon, ‘di ba?” she added.
Palma draws from a deep bag of intimidation tricks she learned from four years of taking up psychology, and she's not about to let up in their last meeting with La Salle this season.
“Siguro nakakatulong ‘yung ginagawa ko doon (sa course ko). Ang dami rin nagsasabi na nagagamit ko ‘yung course ko. Okay lang kasi sanay na ako eh, kumbaga, mind games (ang labanan). So ayun nadadala ko ang pinag-aralan ko sa laro,” she said.
Reyes, however, is no slouch in psychological warfare as well, as she's also a psychology major like Palma who applies her academic knowledge on and off the court.
For proof, Reyes turned the tables on one reporter who noted that Palma won the mind game in their first semis meeting during the post-game interview.
“May panalo ba doon? Paano? Sino nag-judge doon?” asked the La Salle star.
But Reyes was quick to dismiss any issue brewing between her and Palma.
“Pero wala (problema), ok kami ni Palma, ok kami ni Remy,” she said. “Alam naming inside the court lang talaga ‘yun and syempre we’re being sport lang talaga. Part ng laro ‘yun, lagi ko sinasabi na part ng laro ‘yung nag-gaganoon.”