Deliver when called
Game Two of the best-of-three finals of the Philippine Superliga All Filipino Conference was like a boxing bout between two heavy hitters trading haymakers. And yet it also underscored the value of having players coming off the bench to perform when their numbers are called and the need arises.
Winning is the main sports goal and there’s a coaching tendency to rely on just a few good players. But a volleyball team is not made up of just six or seven stars. Aside from your starting six, you need at least six more who are willing to draw out the best from the starters in training.
Champion Petron Blaze that won two straight finals games and runner-up F2 Logistics had off-the-bench heroines who heeded the call of battle and delivered.
F2 found a source of points and energy in Cha Cruz, the captain who wasn’t seeing that much playing time. But then starter Desiree Cheng had a cramps attack that sent her to the sidelines. Cruz came in and rose to the challenge and scored on open sets and helped in defense.
Petron found their bench ace in Sisi Rondina, the “Cebuana Cannon” whose small frame seems too compact for her boundless energy. She can be a matchup problem at the net because of her height but when Petron needs a boost of energy, coach Shaq de los Santos turns to her. Expect Rondina to uncork her attacks quickly, often catching the defense surprised at what hit them.
Boxing has no subs or relievers. But volleyball starters need the relief of a reliable bench.
There may be no real blood or zingers to the head in volleyball but the endless leaping, diving and chasing can feel like going through several rounds atop the ring.
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