PETRON head coach Shaq Delos Santos is treating their feat of matching the 13-0 record of the same team in the 2015 Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference title run as an inspiration and a challenge at the same time.
Three years ago, Delos Santos was the lead assistant coach of George Pascua when Petron swept the 2015 All Filipino with an immaculate 13-0 record behind the troika of Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Rachel Anne Daquis and Aby Maraño .
Fast forward to present day, Delos Santos, who is now in his second year as the head coach, the Blaze Spikers tied the 13-0 record with a rousing 25-23, 25-12, 25-17 victory over F2 Logistics to inch a win closer from completing a golden repeat on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City,
“Siyempre masaya kasi doon sa ginawa namin talagang tinrabaho ng head coach namin ‘yun and ako syempre bilang assistant coach [noon],” Delos Santos told the reporters after the historic win in Game One of the best-of-three finals. “Tatrabahuhin din namin [this time]. Hindi kasi madaling sabihin na kayang-kaya kasi naming gawin, ang goal talaga namin is pagtrabahuhan every game nga so ang result naman laging andyan lang ‘yan.”
“Pero nakakaproud kasi nagawa namin ‘to and syempre inspired and happy pero dapat mas pagbutihan pa namin,” he added.
Sisi Rondina, who fueled Petron with 12 points off the bench in their historic win, admitted that she missed a lot of bondings with the team balancing her life as student-athlete from UST and a club player.
But she believes that their willingness to learn and win as well as chemistry made the 13 consecutive wins possible.
“Malaking dagdag 'yun sa willingness namin to learn and to win,” Rondina said. “Matiyaga talaga kami lahat para mag-grow kami. Lahat lang ng pinapagawa ni Coach Shaq sinusunod namin.”
As the Blaze Spikers are just a win away from breaking the record and claiming their second straight All-Filipino title and fifth overall franchise championship, Delos Santos said that his wards are not letting the milestone get inside their heads as the job is not yet done.
“Yung sa standing sinet aside namin, wala na ulit yan, tapos na yan, back to zero,” said the Petron mentor, who is eyeing his third title as head coach. “Pero ang point dito is dapat inspired tayo kasi grabe yung trinabaho namin. So eto na yung goal talaga natin nasa finals na. So mas pagtrabahuhan namin, chinachallenge namin sarili namin.”
Petron will try to accomplish another historic win in Game 2 on Tuesday at the same venue but for Delos Santos, they have to be ready in closing out the series against a bounce back-seeking F2 Logistics and head coach Ramil de Jesus.
“Siyempre for sure all out sila pero siyempre kami ready para dun kilala namin sila alam namin trabaho ni coach Ramil especially sa ganyang sitwasyon pero mas magtrabaho kami this time,” Delos Santos said.