It’s been said that Filipinos are one of the most passionate sports fans in the world. Not only do we watch the games on our television sets, but given ample time and available tickets, we troop to the venue itself to watch the action live.
Not only do Filipinos cheer for their squad and boo the opposing side, but we also sometimes act as the referee, head coach and color analyst all at the same time. Aside from the sport of basketball, no other sport commands the attention and zeal of fans and supporters in the real and virtual world like the game of volleyball.
A game that for every won point, set or match is quickly posted and tweeted on social media; that praises every double-digit performance of former MVP Ara Galang and announces a rising star in rookie Eli Soyud while at the same time trolls the underachieving members of the La Salle starting six.
From the thousands of “head coaches” in the stands, now there are a million ones giving their pieces of mind on the Internet; some valid while others post, tweet or comment just because of the security of anonymity that the virtual world provides them.
For the last nine games, the arena/coliseum barker has announced the same DLSU lineup as follows: Kim Dy, Desiree Cheng, Cyd Demicillo, Kim Fajardo, team captain Galang, Mika Reyes and libero Dawn Macandili. But the last and most important name announced is the real, official and undisputed head coach of the Lady Spikers, Ramil de Jesus.
No other “DLSU head coach” has sleepless nights thinking of schemes to stop the Alyssa Valdezes and Jaja Santiagos of the league. Despite 16 season on the La Salle bench producing eight UAAP championships, six former Rookies of the Year and MVPs, the lasting image on everyone’s mind was how Ateneo’s Tai Bundit managed to out-coach de Jesus in last year’s finals.
For true fans and supporters of DLSU, how much we put our faith in coach Ramil de Jesus should be tantamount to how much he trusts his starting six despite all the doubters, haters and critics.
A belief that despite blowing a 2 sets to 1 lead against the Lady Eagles in the first round of Season 77, La Salle will put up a gallant stand and be victorious when the two teams meet again at the end of the eliminations and possibly in the finals of the tournament.
The Lady Spikers’ last 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 27-25 win against the National U Lady Bulldogs showed how much the rest of league has caught up and improved to the level of DLSU as much as the La Salle falling off from their standards of excellence.
Not only do other schools boasts tall players like NU’s 6-4 Jaja Santiago, allowing them to stand up against the vaunted Taft wall, but the intimidation factor that seemingly gives La Salle a virtual 10-0 advantage at the start of every set is gone.
With four games to go before the playoffs, straight sets wins are still possibilities against teams at the bottom half of the standings but expect the matches against the rest of the league to be all-out wars.