Published on February 2nd, 2018 | by Genrev Villamin0
UAAP Season 80 Team Preview: DLSU Green Spikers
Season 79: Finished 6th in the elimination round with a 5-9 card.
Holdovers: Rafael Macaspac, Raymark Woo, JD Delos Reyes, Jopet Movido, Cris Dumago, Arjay Onia, Wayne Marco, Joshua Jose, Reuel Asia, Zim Maravilla, Levin Dimayuga, Randy Hendriyanto
Additions: Mike Frey, Keiffer Reyes
Losses: Geuel Asia
The search for identity and true form continues for the De La Salle Green Spikers as they strive to end their four-year Final Four drought.
After several coaching changes in the previous seasons, the Green Spikers seemed to struggle to adjust and adapt. Long-time assistant coach Norman Miguel describes the team as ‘at a loss’ with the different systems and rules. “Itong team kasi for the past four years, puro sila transition. You cannot imagine na paiba-iba yung coaches, paiba-iba yung sistema.”
Green Spiker Jopet Movido described their Season 79 campaign “full of ups and downs.” The libero shared, “Nagkulang kami sa mental preparation. Kung mas handa yung minds namin, mas magiging maganda siguro yung laro.”
La Salle racked up only five wins against nine losses for their third consecutive sixth place finish in the tournament.
Mike Frey, their opposite spiker, sat out Season 79 after suffering an injury.
“Mahirap talaga noon kasi nga ang daming injured. Hindi talaga kami prepared,” Frey said.
In just the team’s fifth game, top gun Raymark Woo also re-injured his left knee that benched him the rest of the season. Left with them in the wing positions were Cris Dumago and Arjay Onia.
Now that Miguel has been assigned the head coaching duties for the embattled Green Spikers, he focuses on character building and formation of each of his players. “More on disciplinarian ako. Mahigpit ako sa training kasi gusto kong organized lahat.” He adds, “Yung skills kasi madaling maituro yan, pero to create the team’s personality and character is a long process. Until now, we’re in the process of maturity.”
When the position was turned over to him back in December 2017, Miguel felt that the Green Spikers were a bit rusty, “Ang na-observe ko last year during Christmas break, preparing for the UAAP, hindi masyadong nakapagpractice. That’s why yun yung una kong cinorrect. Todo ensayo talaga kami.”
Movido echoed his coach, “Mas intense ang training, sa defense pa lang. At the same time, pinabilis niya yung offense namin. From receiving to setting, ang bilis lahat.”
According to Frey, their new coach’s discipline starts with the things outside the game.
“Sa oras, lahat kami maaga. Before training time, dapat nandito na kami, nag-uusap, magseset-set. May mga extra work bago magbola. Tapos sa dorm, may curfew. Sa mga small things nagsstart kasi pagdating sa game, lumalabas naman eh.”
On the other hand, Movido pointed out Miguel’s emphasis on the mindset of the players.
“Kailangan ma-instill mo sa mind na kailangan ganito yung gagawin para alam mo na pagdating sa court,” Movido shared.
Aside from discipline, Miguel also highlights the value of hardwork and sacrifice. The Green Spikers have since trained from Monday to Sunday. “This might sound exaggerated, pero talagang totoo. Yung Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, twice-a-day pa.” He continued, “In the end it will pay off. Kasi if you instill them the value of hardwork, nandun na sa kanila yun. Didisiplinahin na nila yung sarili nila. They’ll put direction sa gusto nilang maachieve. May goal-setting na sila.”
The transition seems to be easier and faster due to the familiarity between the Green Spikers and their former assistant coach. Miguel marveled, “Nakaka-adapt naman sila kasi yung four years na yun, I was there also as assistant. Kilala ko naman na sila and yung mga personalities nila.”
Although he has yet to see the Green Spikers really play as one unit, he was quick to see the development he wants to see with the team.
“Yung technical skills, malaki ang inimprove nila especially sa passing and attack.” The former College of St. Benilde head coach also shared the improvement with the chemistry of the players. “Nag-improve sila sa unity. Mas buo na sila, although binubuo pa rin.”
Frey, expressed that their coach makes sure they bond once in a while. “Every week may session kami. Minsan thrice-a-week kumakain kaming lahat, and the results have been evident. Nakikita kong nagmomold kami. Mas madali kaming nakakagalaw sa court,” And as the team’s new captain, he motivates his teammates by setting an example despite not yet completely recovering from his injury.
“Nakikita ko na pag nakikita nilang nagagawa ko pa rin lahat kahit hindi pa ako clear, mahiya naman sila.”
While Miguel cannot yet expect La Salle to win the championship right away, he considers the completeness of the team’s lineup as their strength. The Green Spikers will feature mostly veterans led by Frey and Woo, who both are returning from their respective injuries, while Geuel Asia, their former captain, already graduated. Miguel also lauded third year setter, Wayne Marco, for stepping up. “Third year pa lang siya but I think na he will fill-up niya yung pagkawala ni Geuel.”
Ironically, he worries about the lack of maturity of his players. “May mga times na kapag nalalamangan sila, medyo nararattle sila. Kapag lumamang, nagrerelax. Tapos kapag hinabol na, natataranta na.” Movido relates to his coach as he compares every game they lose as ‘the one that got away,’ referring to the times the Green Spikers thought they already had it. But their coach always reminds them, “Yung character na you have to trust yourself, you have to trust your teammates. Humugot ka ng lakas sa teammates mo. Madaling manalo pag buo yung team kasi may foundation,” he added.
With all the series of adjustments of coaching and system changes they have had over the past few years, the Green Spikers remain hopeful of overcoming their slump soon. And as the head coach of the team, Miguel knows he has to be positive. But he was quick to add, “Ayokong magrely na lang sa positivity tapos hindi na kami magtatrabaho. Pagtatrabahuhan talaga yan.
We’ll do our best na makapasok sa Final Four. Hanggang doon na lang muna,” Miguel capped his statement.
The De La Salle Green Spikers will start their quest on February 3, 10AM at the SM Mall of Asia Arena against the UST Growling Tigers.