Free Points, Errors, Losing, but still Champions

Recently, and after our season ending loss to the UST Golden Tigresses, a picture of two Captains and La Salle sports power couple, Kib Montalbo and Desiree Cheng, was posted with the caption, “Thank You Captains”.

This sums up our bookend men’s basketball and women’s volleyball seasons. Mirror images of each other, both ended in futile title bids. Both headed by spirited and talented Captains of the Courts.

The trolls, the neanderthals, the fair weatherers, the bashers, unite. LA SALLE HAS FALLEN. Their programs are in disarray. They are NO LONGER CHAMPIONS.

Let’s digress to the game first. This batch of Green Spikers still had all the tools to win it all this season. The La Salle template was still there. The coach and his system were still in place. So, what gave?

Well, UST is a championship caliber team for one. But the main reason is Sisi Rondina. Watching the game live really brought out the girl’s greatness. Her time has come.

Several times, she had bad sets. Her setters were not of the caliber of Fajardo and Morado. Cobb and Alba were at par with them. But give the girl a high ball and she will spike. And most of the time she succeeds. It’s like their team getting free points.

So in order to beat a team like them, with an advantage of getting free points from Rondina, the key for us really was not to give them more free points.

We had to bring our A game. Limit errors. Distribute the ball. Concentrate on defense. Block, dig, receive, then attack. We brought our B- game in this one.

I had running conversations with my friends during the game. UST’s leads were almost always equal to the difference in errors. Service errors was one. Campfire balls were another. And attack errors capped it off. Of the three, two stand out. Atttack errors and service errors.

These are errors of the teams doing, not the opponents. If we couldn’t control this, all the opponents had to do was wait. And wait they did.

They almost paid for their wating too. When we limited our errors, they began theirs. And we xame back. And we almost pulled it off.

Coach Ramil answered my questions. This team was only formed one month before the tournament started. Injuries were a factor. Rookies and newbies, sans Jolina Dela Cruz and Mars Alba, were another. Mitch Morente was not lined up and is now subject of a what if. Des Clemente was also injured and incorporated slowly into the system. It showed. In the local parlance, hindi nagkaka amuyan.

Well that’s the nutshell story in my view. It wasn’t a well oiled machine. Roles were not defined. And remember this is a team sport.

Ok let’s go back to the leadership. The Captain. Des Cheng. Was she a leader? Did she bring this team up to expectations. Well the result seemingly says no. But really? My opinion? Is it worth squat?

Well, disagree with me, I don’t care. My answer is SHE WAS. SHE IS A LEADER. If you don’t believe me, I will elaborate.

First, remember she was one of the injured players. Her shoulder forced her to rest in one game. And remember further, that she was an ACL recovery.

Second, remember the crowd rousing effort during the second UST game? Come from behind win. Lost the first set. Des egged the crowd. Three straight sets afterwards.

Lastly, she didn’t have to return and had initially decided not to. But one request from Sensei De Jesus and Ninja Turtle Desatello didn’t refuse.

Some superstar players opt out of their final year if they see that the remnants of the team will no longer be competitive. There are reputations to protect. There are in fact, news from other teams that star players may opt out of their final year. Let’s see.

Not Des. And for that matter, not Kib. In Kib’s case, remember Ben Mbala, Jeron Teng, and Tomas Torres were no longer there. And oh yes. The injury to Taane. And that broken thumb. And that feisty defense.

Again we go back. Did we lack leadership? Are we no longer champions? Are the trolls and neanderthals, fair weatherers right?

Hahahaha. I have one word for your opinion. MORONIC. People like you equate winning with being champions. Pathetic.

Well we lost. But guys, Des and Kib personified how to be champions even without the official titles with them in their final year. Players like them represent what we should be. And if we truly are La Sallians/La Sallites to the core we should follow their lead!!! I wouldn’t mind following their lead, don’t you think?

It’s in our school hymn isn’t it? NEVER SHALL WE FAIL. So what are we? WE ARE CHAMPIONS.