Photo by Alfonso Tamondong
Contrasting performances were carried out by the Colegio’s volleyball teams in the recent National Collegiate Athletic Association Season 93, finding themselves in different positions at the end of their respective campaigns.
The Lady Knights’ were once again unfortunate in their Final Four bid after losing to the University of Perpetual Help last February 2, ending their campaign on a lowly seventh seed with a 3-6 win-loss slate.
Meanwhile, the men’s team found themselves out of the playoff picture once again, as the Knights started off with a series of defeats and continued to struggle throughout the rest of the first round winless.
Despite the bitter outcomes, the teams are now preparing for the NCAA Season 93 beach volleyball tournament to be held on February 27 to March 3 at the Subic Port.
Unlike indoor volleyball, beach volleyball has a different approach to the game. It only consists of two players and is a sure challenge to those who are not used to it as it relies mostly on the chemistry between players.
Aside from bearing the unusual environment, the dimensions of the sand court can test an avid indoor player’s strength. Also, the weather always plays a huge factor since games don’t stop when it rains.
Moreover, all attributes like blocking, attacking, defending, and setting should be packed into both players. Letran volleyball head coach Mike Inoferio then describes the beach volleyball player as an “all-around” player.
This year, the teams representing the Colegio are the duo of Miracle Mendoza and Marie Simborio with Kathleen Barrinuevo as their spare for women’s. For the men’s team, on the other hand, is the tandem of Bobby Gatdula and Paul Alilio with Christopher Cistina as their reserve.
However, difficulty in adapting to the new playing environment is still a concern for both teams. Also, trainings have always been with constraints because the teams have to travel all the way to Cavite to train. Thus, it’s only done during the weekends.
Although a championship is the obvious goal for Letran, the hope for improvement and further success is something the team is focusing on. The teams eye a more positive approach to the sands despite ending their indoor volleyball season with bitter results.
Despite the failed bid for the final four, Coach Inoferio remains positive when asked about the Lady Knights’ performance in Season 93. He shared, “So far maganda naman, nagkataon lang talaga sa breaks of the game.”
According to Inoferio, the team performed well compared to the previous years, saying, “Nag-improve naman sila although ‘yung last three games [of the season], sayang. May chance talagang manalo but then again, ang masasabi ko lang kulang na kulang pa kasi sila sa maturity.”
The Lady Knights have big shoes to fill in heading into next season as team captain Entezar Bangcola and defender Elizza Abitan ended their respective tenures.
In her final game for the Lady Knights, Bangcola spoke about her thoughts on the team’s performance this season. “There were many games that we could have won, but weren’t because we failed to regroup and realign our motives,” she continued, “but our resiliency, to fight the way we should, I guess that’s what put us higher this year.”
Bangcola was keen to heap praise on all of her teammates. “To my sisters who I will be leaving behind, I know that they will always fight. Never give in, never give up.” she exclaimed.