For the UST Volleyball Program, winning has always been a tradition. In the Women’s Division alone, The Tigresses has made 10 consecutive appearances in the Final 4 of the UAAP. It was a long streak that was kept alive by some of the biggest Volleyball legends in the land. Because of this, the fan base of the team has been considered to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in the league. That is until Season 75 happened..
With the departure of brilliant setter Rhea Dimaculangan, the team seemed to have crumbled and was unable to adjust within the season. Rhea may have spoiled her attackers a little too much with her excellent sets for the past five years that’s why when converted playmaker Loren Lantin took over the setting job, UST’s offense fell apart.
Other spectators of the sport pointed out that the Diamond Season batch of this squad lacked a vocal leader inside the court. This, according to them, is the same reason the team finished only third during Season 74. The Coaching Staff, led by Odji Mamon, failed to find an able replacement for the most loved “Kapitana” to ever grace UAAP, Aiza Maizo.
The absence of a leader plus the setting woes that haunted them the entire tournament spelled disaster for the España-based squad as they got booted out of the Semis by former teammate Dindin Santiago and the rest of the NU Lady Bulldogs. With a dismal 5th place finish, Mamon, along with Assistant Coaches Vilet Ponce De Leon and Yani Fernandez, had to go back to the drawing board to figure out what exactly went wrong. And thank the heavens above, they did.
With the Shakey’s V-league Season 10 coming up in less than three weeks, the girls are excited and pumped up to make another Finals appearance. Starting this week, they will be back on training to make sure all of them are physically and mentally tough enough to battle the best of the best come game time. With six titles tucked under their belt, the girls will go all out to ensure no other streak will be broken this year. You see, all the Conferences they joined so far, they are either the champions or the bridesmaids. And according to them, they will not settle for anything less.
And since all of you have been craving to find out who their Guest Players will be, UST’s head coach was generous enough to give us the answer. “That’s it. You’re seeing them play right now. We will have Aiza Maizo and Rhea Dimaculangan.” And just to clarify, I had to ask Coach Vilet if we will also be having a Thai Import. Very bluntly, she said “No. That’s it. Tingin mo ba hindi pa sapat yan?”
“We are going back to basics. It is a tradition that we compete in this league with Filipino players, of course with the exception of last year.” De Leon added. Yes, UST fans, they were able to figure out what is lacking. That is why they are bringing them back! And to answer Coach Vilet’s question, I had nothing but a smile. With Aiza and Rhea looming on the horizon, the future can’t get any brighter. Bengga’s ready. Are you? 😉 UST! Let’s go! FIGHT!!!!!