Athlete of the Month: Betto Orendain

Student-athletes dream to reach the top and bring honor, not only to their name but also to their school, and country. It is also their goal to be recognized for their effort and to be loved by their fans. That’s how things went for Green Tennisters Captain Betto Orendain or simply Betto, as his friends and fans call him.

Being inspired and motivated by the legends of tennis like multiple Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer, he showed the Lasallian community what he is capable of. Up to now, he continues to make his point.

Orendain did not start as a tennis lover. The sport did not run in his family, except for his sister. “I used to be a spectator only, watching my sister play in a tennis camp for beginners,” Orendain in his career beginnings. “It was not until a coach approached me from the camp and invited me to try it out. After that, the rest was history.”

Entering college, life as a student-athlete is not easy, and Orendain shared two main keys in balancing sports and academics. “Prioritizing and time management are the two most valuable lessons I have learned to apply in my life. Without them, I definitely wouldn’t be able to balance my academics and tennis.”

Betto Orendain is a hardworking athlete who tries to prove himself everyday in front of the coaches, teammates, and the Lasallian community. He shows this by being there always in their tough training schedule and workouts.

Working out is one of the main things that an athlete must do to keep himself fit and strong. But it is mostly a drag to workout especially if it is challenging them to be strong. Orendain shared that his workouts are not boring and can be enjoyable. “Keep your workouts fun! It doesn’t need to be whatever everyone does as long as what you’re doing is enjoyable.”

Being tall, handsome, and athletic as he is, it’s not unusual for some people to have a crush on the Lawn Tennis star. Some athletes even have crushes on their fellow athletes in the UAAP. But when asked who his UAAP crush is, Orendain simply closed, “Thats easy… It’s a secret.”

It was a wild journey for the Green Tennisters captain. He showed dominance and grace as he climbed up the ranks to become team captain, wearing the Green and White as he tries to lead the team to victory. For Orendain, achieving something feels so much better when you work hard for it and that every work he puts is not only for him but for God and country.

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Green Batters

The UAAP Season 81 is right around the corner and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Batters have worked and sacrificed a lot to redeem themselves from a bitter loss in the Finals last season.

In the UAAP Season 80, the Green Batters topped the elimination round with a win-loss record of 9-1. According to Head coach Joseph Orillana, the team, however, became overconfident as they went head-to-head with Adamson in the Finals. Upon hearing who they were against, the players started to relax knowing that they could beat Adamson once again as they have done twice during the first two rounds.

That thought hazed during the latter parts of the two-game Finals as they eventually left the UAAP Season 80 without the title. This experience left a huge mark for the Green Batters knowing that they already had the championship title within their grasp, but instead let it slip. This, however, became their ultimate motivation to reclaim the throne in the upcoming season.

Leading the team are veteran skippers who will be playing their final year for the Green Batters. Reigning MVP Kiko Gesmundo will join Jose Pineda, Jonathan Park, Paolo Salud, Vicente Barandiaran, and Joaquin Bilbao.

The team had slight changes in the offseason in terms of roster with the farewell of seniors Cholo Dominguez, Paul Naguit, and Andre Palacios.

On the other hand, Luis Miñana will lead the Green Batters who will be seeing action in the UAAP for the first time this season. The former De La Salle Santiago-Zobel batter mentioned how different baseball is from high school compared to collegiate level. “Back in highschool, you try to expand your knowledge in the different positions on the field. Here, you really focus on one position in order to really be good at it.”

Gesmundo shared his insights on his team for this season. “There is a perfect blend of rookies and seniors this season based on our preseason performance, and I have no doubt that we can surely get the championship this season.”

Leading the Green Batters this season is team captain Ignacio Escaño. Seeing the determination he and his teammates have for this season, he also had a few words to say. “This season is special to me because I have a bigger role to play. I would want to bring out the potential I see in my teammates and the best out of the team. We have a new assistant coach who really helped improve our performance, and all the sacrifices we made comes down to this. I know we are the best team out there. We just have to show it.”

Orillana watched his players improved both in a physical and mental aspect during the offseason. Each and every one of them has developed a deeper understanding of the game and committing to their role in the team. “Magtiwala sa sarili, sa isa’t isa, at sa coach kasi iisa lang ang goal naming lahat. Kailangan mag-gel kami, maghilaan kami pataas para ma-reach namin ang goal this season at yan ay mag-champion.”

Support the DLSU Green Batters throughout their journey for redemption starting this February 17, 2018 at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

Players: Jose Antonio Acuña, Vicente Barandiaran, Joaquin Vicente Bilbao, Jose Adolfo Bilbao, Juan Paolo Casas, Ignacio Escaño, Jameson Esparas, Mark Evangelista, Francis Gesmundo, Arvin Herrera, Juan Diego Lozano, Luis Miñana, Jonathan Park, Rafael Pascual, Jose Gabriel Pineda, Joshua Pineda, Marthy Ranada, Anton Rosas, Paolo Salud, Angelo Tantuico

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Green Spikers

Photo by: Jempoy Pimentel

Despite falling short in their bid of a return to the Final Four last season, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Spikers are now more than ready to make their mark in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Volleyball Tournament.

For the past five seasons, the DLSU Green Spikers have had a hard time making it to the top four. As another chapter unfolds for the team, new Head Coach Arnold Laniog sets the goal of taking their games one at a time.

With the new process and system being implemented for the team, Laniog expects his team to exhibit the best of their potentials. “Nakatutok kami doon sa process kung paano sila maglaro.” He added that winning is not their top most priority, but rather being able to run the game plan and system. “Ang target namin is secondary lang yung win, yung panalo. But everytime na tutungtong kami sa court is yung makapagperform kami sa pinakakaya namin.”

However, he also noted that, “Eventually, yung consistency hinahabol namin and yung high percentage na maging effective, makita sana namin sa UAAP.”

Not only does he expect the team to perform their roles inside the court, but outside as well. As they start their quest, Laniog does not put any pressure on the team players, but only expects them to give their best performance throughout the season.

Team Captain Cris Dumago shared that the system being implemented now has a major role in their journey to the elusive playoffs. Despite the team being comprised of mostly rookies, Dumago still believes that they have a chance of making it to the Final Four as long as each does his best.

Moreover, taking it one game at a time is significant for the team in order to see what needs to be improved throughout the season, which can help in achieving their goal.

On the other hand, Raphael Sumalinog, who will be seeing action for the first time, trusts the process that has been implemented to them by their coaches. As long as they take it step-by-step, there is a chance for them to reach the Final Four.

As regards to being a rookie, Sumalinog said that there are more expectations from them, “Rookie ito. Kaya siguro na lineup ito kasi mas maraming maipapakita ito.” Despite these remarks, he still believes that they can achieve with the help of their coaches and their teammates.

The DLSU Green Spikers will start their season this coming February 17, 2019, 10 AM at the Mall of Asia Arena against the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Tennisters

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Tennisters are back on stance to smash their way onto the top of the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Lawn Tennis Tournament.

With a bronze finish from last season, the team claims not just defending the podium but this time aiming the arrows higher for the Green and White.

Coming from a roster shorthand of players, the girls look to boost their morale as they enter the tournament with a complete lineup.

Captain: Jed Vallie Rayne Aquino

Holdovers: Kylla Allesandra Orillosa, Jenni Celine Dizon

Rookies: Mary Aubrey Calma, Marianne Hillary De Guzman, Kiezl Kyla Diaz, Arianne Nillasca, Frances Angelica Santiago, Danielle Alliah Salvador

Losses: Rachelle De Guzman, Nikki Arandia

Although dominated by rookies, the three seniors are looking sharp to lead the team for a new breed of Lady Tennisters.

Alongside, Head Coach Roland Kraut, sets the perfect exemplar for his players. His years of legacy as a Lasallian continues—from his athletic career to coaching profession—keeping the passion alive.

Jed Aquino, leading this year as captain, shared how the preparations went on for the team. “Preseason tournaments helped us to be ready for the pressure we’ll face for Season 81. Pero iba pa rin talaga UAAP, mas grabe pressure.”

In need of a stronger team chemistry, the team competed in pre-season tournaments such as the Ateneo Invitational Team Tennis Tournament in Katipunan, the PCA Open 2018 in Manila, and the recent MILO Tennis Open Championships at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Courts to keep them on the field.

With the game venues shifting outside the metro, the Taft-based squad remains focused on the crown despite the extra fatigue this could possibly bring. “At least we know what to expect and yun yung lagi namin iniisip sa training. We always put pressure every time we train to be really prepared for UAAP,” Aquino echoed.

Regardless, the girls look on to their first face-off against the long-time challenger UP Fighting Lady Maroons. Once again, the captain expresses her trust unto the rookies, “Adjustments were made and we’re able to build and strengthen our relationship as a team, we encourage one another to push ourselves to our limits”.

She believes that they are not just excited for the UAAP but more importantly, to play their hearts out for the La Sallian community. “Now we are ready and excited to play in the name of our school! I believe that we are all ready to give our best for this season.”

Be there to support the DLSU Lady Tennisters on battlefield as they take on UP for the first game action on February 17, 11 AM, at the CSA Bulacan Tennis Courts. Animo Lady Tennisters!

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Green Booters

Photo by: Jeremiah Buenafe

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Booters were able to clinch a fourth place finish in the
UAAP Season 80 Men’s Football Tournament. After reaching the playoffs last season, will the
Green Booters be able to go beyond and finally reclaim the elusive crown this upcoming
season?

Ready for a comeback

After a successful return to the Final Four last season, Assistant Coach Alvin Ocampo is eyeing
to bring back the title in Taft. “We have to bring back the title sa Taft. It’s been more than 20 years,” Ocampo said.

With a great desire to end the championship drought, the Green Booters had enough preparations during the preseason that would make the men in green click and gel as a team. They joined different tournaments such as Ang Liga, Sagay Cup, and Pilipinas Cup where they performed well after finishing first, second, and third place respectively.

Team captain Jed Diamante believes that the team is ready enough to go into battle this Season 81. “I think the team is ready. Sa current state namin, we’ve been preparing really well for the past months,” said the fourth year skipper.

Rookies filling their roles

The number of rookies for this coming season is not a problem for Ocampo, who commended the rookies’ contribution during their preseason matches. “Majority puro rookies eh, with the mix of the seniors, so maganda yung pinakita nila the past matches nila eh.” Diamante believes that the rookies suiting up for La Salle were able to adjust on how they should be playing in the team.

“More than half of our team is composed of rookies, sa past tournaments namin and preparations. We were able to instill with them what it is to be a Lasallian football player and I think they already get the feel of how it is to be part of the Lasallian community. Now, seeing them play the preseason tournaments, we can say that they’re really ready to fight for the Archers.”

Xavie Zubiri, who will be playing for the Green Booters as a rookie, said he is already looking forward to his UAAP debut. “I am looking forward to the hard competition ahead of us and great team work from our team. As a rookie this year, I can help contribute in boosting positivity in the team.”

Zubiri added that he and his fellow rookies will also step up along with their teammates. “I’d say the rookies perform together at the same standard as the team does, and we are able to create chemistry within the team.”

Leaving a mark

Two of the 22-man roster will be suiting up for their final playing year for the Green and White. Yoshi Koizumi and Alfonso Montelibano are also hoping to reclaim the crown this season.

Koizumi is feeling mixed emotions knowing that it is his last year playing for the Green Booters. “I’m excited to play for my last year, but as well as it’s kind of emotional. I’ve been here for five years, and I’ve been through a lot of stuff.” But more than anything else, he has high hopes that, “this season will be the best in my football career and also DLSU career.”

On the other hand, Montelibano emphasizes that what matters to him most is the teamwork everyone is willing to give. “At the end of the day, win or lose, it’s always about my team and this team has been through so much, and all I care about is getting the best of the team on and off the field.” As one of the graduating players, he believes that what he can do this season is to leave a mark to the whole team and to become an inspiration to the rookies. “The only thing I could leave behind is my mark–maybe to make sure they’re strong at heart and always teach them the life lessons they need and during the games; maybe make my presence felt, since I’m like the senior, lift the team up and maybe bring them my experience with these rookies.”

The DLSU Green Booters will start their campaign as they go against UST Growling Tigers on February 17, 1 PM at the FEU Fern Diliman.

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Spikers

Last UAAP Season 80, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers were once again one of the shining spots of the DLSU sports teams as they captured their second three-peat in a span of eight seasons. They came into Season 80 as the clear favorites, bragging a solid mix of talent and experience. Led by the trio of Kim Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili, the Lady Spikers bagged the championship after sweeping the FEU Lady Tamaraws 2-0, with Finals MVP honors going to star libero Macandili.

As the Lady Spikers enter Season 81 without Dy, Baron, and Macandili, they hope to continue their winning ways and capture their first four-peat, with almost half the roster composed of rookies.

Things have not been easy for the Lady Spikers coming into this season. Losing key players is one thing but adding and fitting new players like Erika Santos and Jolina dela Cruz into the system is another even for the multi-titled coach. Head Coach Ramil de Jesus admitted, “Yung mga rookies na dumadating dito pilit mong ihahabol dun sa system which is hindi ganun kadali. It takes time para makuha nila yung system.”

On how the team’s preparation changed following the departure of his championship core from the previous season, De Jesus expressed sadness over the loss of the team’s veterans. “Marami talagang nawala eh di lang sila Majoy, Kianna and Dawn. Nandyan na rin na nawala sila Barroga, Layug, at si Tiu so anim nawala.” Nonetheless, he added that losing senior players is nothing new and the team will continue to develop and improve moving forward, “As long as merong seniors na natitira, may system na nariyan.”

Adding the fact that the core of the team was recovering from injuries that delayed the training process, the projections for this season weren’t too bright. Nonetheless, the Lady Spikers remain hopeful in their campaign to win the championship this year. “Syempre our goal is to win the four-peat,” said Lady Spikers setter Michelle Cobb.

As one of the holdovers from last season, she recognized and stressed the importance of the veterans to step up and lead the way for the new players. “With most of our players being rookies, ineexpect kaming mga beterano na magstep up.”

With their season approaching, we take a look at the team’s key components to finally capturing the elusive four-peat.

THE MENTOR
Coach Ramil de Jesus

It feels like everything has been said about De Jesus; after all in his 20 years of coaching this team, he has led them to 11 championships. That is more than the fingers on both your hands if you are wondering. Like all stories of success, each championship has a deeper, more intricate layer behind it, one that is often filled with hardships and trials. For De Jesus, this season doesn’t seem any different as he tries to mold his young talent and lead them to the championship.

THE CAPTAIN
Desiree Cheng

Desiree Cheng has always been an excellent player. The outside hitter’s volleyball skills are unquestionable and the awards show for it, dating back to her high school years winning multiple awards to winning Finals MVP last Season 79. There is no doubt that she can play, but this season she is expected to step up and lead the team as well. With a lot pressure coming from the expectations of a four-peat, it seems a huge task for Cheng. However, if there is anything her return from an ACL injury has taught us, it is her unparalleled resilience and dedication that will surely shine through and inspire her teammates through their campaign.

THE VETERANS
Michelle Cobb

Now on her third year, this setter got her big break last season as she was expected to fill in the void left by Kim Fajardo. Considered a rising star and one of the best setters in the league, last season she finished third in the Best Setter category averaging 8.26 excellent sets per set. This season, expect a more mature and developed game from Cobb as she grows more comfortable into her role as a key player in the system.

Aduke Ogunsanya

Although known as more of a “B-Team” player, she has recently been making her mark since replacing middle blocker Mika Reyes, coming up big for the squad when needed. This season she plays a larger role. In addition to being expected to lead the team, she will play an important part in the defense of the Lady Spikers as they lost one of their best blockers in Baron. Not one to back down, this Iloilo native will surely bring her A-game every time she steps on the court.

THE X-FACTOR
Des Clemente

To more casual fans it may seem that the Lady Spikers got a fresh new recruit, but those closely following the Lasallian sports community would know that Des Clemente is no stranger to De Jesus’ system. After her stint with the Perpetual Help Altas in the NCAA, Clemente signed with F2 Logistics in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) and was familiarized with the system as well as some of the players. Along with Ogunsanya, her defensive presence to the team would help La Salle maintain its identity as a defensive-minded team.

THE NEWBIE
Jolina Dela Cruz

One of the top prospects coming into the season, Dela Cruz drew eyes as she played for Central Luzon in Palarong Pambansa. She was viewed to have a complete game, impressing scouts with her explosive spikes as well as her agility that made her excellent when it comes to floor defense. Discovered by De Jesus through the Shakey’s V-League when she was 17, she has been training with La Salle ever since and can be an instant contributor as she makes her debut in Season 81.

It looks to be a long season ahead for the Lady Spikers as they attempt to make history. With a team essentially in rebuild, the team’s dynamic has changed as some players are put into larger roles this season. But one thing that has not changed is their dedication and as long as they stick to their identity as a defensive team, the odds of winning four-peat is very much a possibility.

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Lady Batters

After finishing sixth in the UAAP Season 80 Softball Tournament, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Batters enter Season 81 with a winning mindset and once again eager to prove themselves to the Lasallian community.

The Lady Batters failed to achieve their bid of a podium finish after winning only four games. La Salle won two games each in the first and second round. They hardly made a run throughout the elimination round after following up a win with a loss and a loss with another loss. Moreover, the Lady Batters came up with four scoreless losses.

Team captain Jamica Arribas described their overall campaign, “Ang ganda ng start namin sa mga games pero wala kaming finishing.” She added, “Maybe last season was not for us talaga kaya palagi kaming short.”

In spite of that, she commended her team and her teammates’ efforts during their campaign last season. “We represented the name in front of our jersey, and we showed what we got.”

With the new season approaching fast for the Lasallian athletes, trainings and preparations are relentless. Sacrifice is expected for players lined up for their respective teams for their long-awaited respective tournaments. And the Lady Batters are no exception to that.

They were not able to spend much of their offseason with their families in the province. Instead, they had to stay within the walls of Enrique Razon Sports Complex and Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium. “Sacrifice yung time namin instead na umuwi sa kanya-kanyang province,” Arribas imparted. Moreover, some of their weekends were also dedicated to trainings and tune-up games.

Although the Taft-based squad were not able to join any preseason tournaments, they played tune-up games with various university and high school teams.

Heading into Season 81, the graduating skipper is confident of her team’s chemistry in and out of the court. “We focused on building our relationship with each other,” Arribas shared. The team lost only one player due to graduation but gained three rookies. “It’s not hard to adjust dahil halos lahat sa amin ay magkakasama araw-araw at nasa iisang dorm lang.”

In addition to that, she believes that having one outlook as a team will be their strength. “We have the same goal, and that is to win. This is the strength of the team.”

“We want to prove ourselves to our coaches, managers, and parents, to OSD and the Lasallian community na kaya naming manalo,” Arribas stated. She continued, “We just need to trust in ourselves, our teammates, coaches, and God para mapagtagumpayan ang goal namin this season.”

With all that said, the Lady Batters are once again placing their bid of a podium finish. The team captain hopes that the team’s preparations will translate to winning games.

She closed, “We will push hard and work hard to make the impossible possible and we will bring good news to DLSU community.”

The DLSU Lady Batters will open their campaign tomorrow, February 16, 11 AM at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium against the UE Lady Warriors.

UAAP Season 81 Team Preview: DLSU Green Tennisters

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Tennisters are ready to give their best for the pride of the Green and White in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Lawn Tennis Tournament.

The Green Tennisters took home the bronze from last year’s tournament after a dominant run from Kyle Parpan and Betto Orendain. Parpan, the team’s former captain, played his final playing year in Season 80. On the other hand, the mantle of team captain is now passed on to Orendain, who will be leading a new set of players for the upcoming season.

“Last year was probably the biggest what if I have at the moment. I know our team last season was a serious contender for the championship.” Orendain talked about the team’s campaign last year. He added, “But that’s life. We don’t always get what we want and that’s okay. I know God still pulls through for us in the end no matter what.”

Good chemistry is the name of the game for the Green Tennisters as they are going into battle with a fresh and young team. This upcoming season, the Green and White are looking to fill in the void left by five skippers who they lost due to graduation. They also aim to continue developing their game not only as individuals but also as a team in general.

LA Cañizares, Qoqo Allian, Dale Gorospe, and Hans Asistio join Parpan in the list of veteran Green Tennisters who graduated last year.

Meanwhile, King Golfo and Miguell Gran will be seeing action for the first time this season but are already expected to bring some seniority to the other rookies.

Although the current roster has a young team, the veterans remain confident and positive heading into the new season. Jonah Cano, Rey Mayo, Rap Teng, Gelo Cerezo, and Jr Arguelles will be back this upcoming season to help catapult the team to a podium finish. With them are rookies Al Andrande and Mark Crisosto who will provide young legs to the roster.

The team captain believes that they have “a good set of talent this season.” He added that the rookies did great during their practices and they continue to improve as their training goes. “Hopefully they are able to play their real game during the season,” the team captain bares. “I believe that they will get better, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Taft-based squad participated in a tournament in Ateneo back in November 2018 as part of their training and preparations for Season 81. “There are signs of improvements in our performance as team that look promising for the upcoming season,” Orendain shared.

The Green Tennisters will also face some adjustments similar to the Lady Tennisters as the Lawn Tennis tournaments will be held at CSA Bulacan Tennis Courts. Moreover, they will also play more games as NU and Adamson rejoin the tournament after their absence last season.

With these adjustments, the team always remind themselves to always have a great mindset before the game and to be serious in performing out in the court.

“The most important would be the team’s mindset. The mood needs to be set a few days before so that everyone realizes the seriousness of the competition beforehand,” Orendain shared. “If you step on the court having a weak and unprepared mindset, then you’ve already lost, even before playing the first point.”

Support the DLSU Green Tennisters as they open their campaign against the NU Bulldogs on February 16, 2019, 8 AM.

Roster: Betto Orendain, Jonah Cano, Rey Mayo, Rap Teng, Gelo Cerezo, Jr Arguelles, King Golfo, Al Andrade, Mark Crisosto, Miguell Gran

UAAP Season 81 Preview: DLSU Green and Lady Jins

The Green and Lady Jins are ready to kick their way to the top this UAAP Season 81 with their eyes on the prize after finishing 4th and 5th last season.

The De La Salle Poomsae team, on the other hand, are looking forward to reclaiming the crown after falling to the University of Santo Tomas Poomsae team last year.

Change of Strategy

There was no time to dwell over last season. With only a few days to recover, the Green and Lady jins were already back in training for UAAP season 80.

With adjustments made to their training program, the team’s preseason competitions served as its training grounds to test its change in strategy. Each player has improved and showed that having no days off has paid off.

IR Donato, team captain of the Green Jins, said “We trained hard like never before. The preparation was heavy and we just kept on pushing each other to exceed our limits. There were times when we thought of giving up, but we never did because we want to win.”

What to Expect

For this season, the Green and Lady Jins are hoping to land a podium finish. Lovely Avanceña, team captain of the women’s taekwondo team, said that there are no expectations because there are also many graduating players from the other schools. “Ang masasabi ko lang is gagawin namin ang best namin as a team para maibalik namin yung korona sa Taft.”

From the Poomsae team, graduating player Rico Mella said that with their new players Patrick Perez, Kiko Ignacio, Mikee Regala, and Zyka Santiago, first place is right within their reach.

Donato also said that we should expect a team that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. “And most of all a fun team that enjoys every match we face.”

Catch them in action at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym on November 6 to 9.

DLSU Lady, Green Spikers ready to make their mark in UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball

Photos from DLSU Sports and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers Facebook page

The De La Salle University Beach Volleyball Teams are looking to eclipse their finishes last year as they aim for the podium in the UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball Tournament to be held at the Mall of Asia Sands by the Bay.

La Salle’s men’s team will front new faces in Geraint Bacon, Paul Serrano and Raprap Sumalinog. On the other hand, the women’s crew will be bannered by veterans Tin Tiamzon, May Luna and Michelle Morente.

Lady Spikers aim for experience, podium finish

The Lady Spikers ranked fourth in Season 80, a seed lower than what they had the previous year. Known as an indoor volleyball powerhouse, DLSU hopes to translate its success to the sands. The Taft squad will try to regain its lost glory after former Lady Spikers Kim Fajardo and Cyd Demecillo clinched the school’s first and only title in beach volleyball in 2015.

Luna and Tiamzon were set for another podium finish last year, but the duo succumbed to the UP Lady Maroons to settle for fourth.

The high-soaring pair got their feet wet when they debuted for the Green and White in the beach volleyball scene last year. Albeit the unfamiliar atmosphere, Luna and Tiamzon showcased an impressive performance as they still barged into the Final Four. They might have had miscues, but the latter believes that experience made them ready for the competition.

“We weren’t far behind the top teams last season, which were UST, UP, and FEU considering that May and I were relatively a new pair. I think that one of the lapses we had was that we couldn’t execute some of the things we needed to do in crucial moments. And going into this season I think we’re more prepared to deliver in those clutch moments.” Tiamzon said.

Luna echoed her teammate’s sentiments saying, “siguro kasi it matters talaga yung composure during tight games, napapairal yung emotion before the situation.”

Reinforcing them this season is the hard-hitting Mich Morente, who is returning to collegiate volleyball after serving residency in the previous year. With the addition of a veteran presence and rigorous training, an ecstatic Tiamzon said that La Salle has set its sights to another strong showing.

“I’m excited with what our team dynamics might be this season with ate Mich Morente. I also think that we are more prepared this season, we had a lot more training and we really focused on our core beach volley team a lot with the help of our coaches.”

Asked about their goal for this season, Tiamzon shared, “the same as previous years, which is to be part of the top 4 and maybe even make it to the finals. And gain more experience for the indoor season, especially now that we are starting over as a team.”

Green Spikers off to a fresh start

A new lineup in Geraint Bacon, neophytes Paul Serrano and Raprap Sumalinog will take on the beach volleyball test in the men’s division. Coach Norman Miguel and his team will fight for a Final Four slot in Season 81.

Last season, the Green Spikers failed to reach the semifinals as they ended the tournament with a seventh-place finish, holding a 2-5 win-loss record.

Bacon, the only veteran to play for the Green Spikers, mentioned that since his teammates are rookies, they have been working on their chemistry to improve communication.

“Rookies mga kasama ko so we just have to work our chemistry inside the sand court,” he said.

Knowing that the team is young, Bacon insisted that they will approach the competition ‘one game at a time’ and hopefully they can surprise everyone. He, though, made it clear that the main goal is to rank higher this year, “Sabi ni coach goal namin is mag rank up from last season’s 7th place.

“In addition, Sumalinog keeps the reminders of the coaches during training in his mind as he vows to give his all for the Green and White on the sand.

“Rookie palang po ako this season pero as a rookie po gagawin ko lang po lahat ng ginagawa namin sa training at lahat ng aral na palagi sakin sinasabi at pinapaalala ng coaches ko before and after training. And sa lahat ng sacrifice at hirap na pinagdadaanan namin gusto namin masuklian lahat ng iyon ng magandang resulta. At sa darating na laro namin bukas ay inaalay namin sa buong La Salle Community.” He said.

UAAP Season 81 Beach Volleyball starts tomorrow! Catch the Green and Lady Spikers as they face UE and FEU respectively.