Greenstincts: Maintaining the Lady Spikers’ status quo

Supporters and fans of the DLSU Lady Spikers already calling for head coach Ramil de Jesus to alter his starting line-up can very well learn from the lessons of the past. Around two seasons ago, starting setter Mika Esperanza’s setting was just as shaky as her confidence yet de Jesus still named the former Rookie of the Year as his starting playmaker up until the last few games of the eliminations.

While the talent, tactics and play calling of a certain Kim Fajardo was clearly better than Esperanza, the former only became the Lady Spikers’ full-time starter last year; surpassing the more experienced Esperanza, who is now recovering from a torn ACL.

Fast forward to yesterday’s brilliant showing of the trio of rookie Eli Soyud, sophomore Mary Joy Baron and 4th year open hitter Carol Cervesa. All three either established or surpassed their UAAP career highs led by the 16 points (13 kills, one block, two aces) of Soyud and 13 from Baron.

Cerveza, after establishing her career-high (eight) in the previous win against FEU, had an encore performance of nine points; combining with Baron for 10 of the Lady Spikers’ total 17 blocks.

While there can no doubt that the best La Salle six/seven should be composed of team captain Ara Galang, Farjardo, Mika Reyes, Baron, Cerveza, Soyud and libero Cienne Cruz, trust RdJ to continue utilizing starters Kim Dy, Desiree Cheng, Cyd Demicillo and libero Dawn Macandili.

The ploy might look like an act of defiance, but in the 3rd and 4th sets, the Lady Fighting Maroons clearly ran out of gas while the fresh legs of La Salle’s shock troopers was key to win number eight: a 25-27, 25-20, 25-23, 25-10 victory over UP.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Non-La Salle “fans” in attendance either truly love an underdog (UP) or they must really hate DLSU. Since the second game involved Ateneo against National U, Blue and White “fans” who were at the venue for the 2PM game gave their support for UP to beat the Lady Spikers.

The said “fans” even went bonkers when the Diliman-based squad took the first set. The effect of the cheering and jeering against the Lady Spikers was so evident that de Jesus had to remind his wards: “You’re opponent is not outside the court, it’s inside.” It was a good thing that the play of La Salle in the later parts of the game were able to silence those who were in the crowd.

Recently, news of departing members of the DLSU men’s basketball team sent shockwaves throughout the Lasallian community. Head coach Juno Sauler confirmed second-year guard Robert Bolick’s wish to transfer schools while beloved rookie Terrence Mustre’s fate with the Green Archers remains a mystery.

The two were reportedly “victims” of being demoted to the school’s Team B. In Season 77, both were given limited playing time and thus hardly able to showcase the potential that the coaches saw when recruiting said guards.

Contrast that to most of the Lady Spikers; players such as Cervesa and hard-hitting Camille Cruz rarely do get their numbers called but deliver when they do get their chances. Cervesa lighted up the San Juan Arena after scoring eight big points in DLSU’s 25-17, 29-27, 25-14, 25-9 win over the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

The hash tag “FearTheBeer” was equally amusing yet appropriate for the type of energy and spunk that Cervesa provided after FEU tied the game at one set a piece. The move of de Jesus of inserting Carol was either a magical ace up his sleeve or a desperate attempt to change the flow of the game that obviously worked.

Fellow reserve player, Cienne Cruz was also able to provide steady libero play, finishing with 11 digs. The team’s main trio of Galang, Reyes and Fajardo combined for 37 points with Ara scoring 17, 16 from attack points.