Provincial teams have to play with spunk | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Provincial teams have to play with spunk

/ 03:44 AM March 29, 2014

It’s summer time and the best opportunity to get school teams ready for the upcoming athletic calendar.

In volleyball, the Shakey’s V-League has opened its arms regularly to provincial squads to prepare them for their own tournaments by going up against the UAAP and NCAA teams.

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Through the years, teams from Bacolod and Cebu have brought their teams to compete in the first conference.

To date, there hasn’t been a major contender from the provinces against the fancied teams.

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Many analysts point to the talent difference between the Manila-based teams and the provincial squads.

There’s also arguably better coaching, with seasoned veteran mentors who have championship and international experience calling the shots for the metro schools.

What’s more, provincial teams have to deal with young people contending with homesickness, unfamiliarity with the playing conditions and sometimes the pressure of having to represent a city or province.

One of the young players of Southwestern U, Necca Rose Dela Llana, revealed in a TV interview that she and her teammates were both excited but pressured to represent Cebu in the tournament.

Most of them were freshmen and sophomores, with only two being older.

Moreover, one can only imagine what it is like to be young and away from one’s comfort zones in terms of family, friends and food.

Yes, food can affect one’s disposition as we’ve seen cyclists on the summer tour refuse to eat food that didn’t conform to their taste buds. It wasn’t an issue of taste but of familiarity.

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Within this seemingly complex context, teams will just have to rise to the occasion and overcome the challenges.

The mentors and coaches of these young women will play an important role to keep the teams motivated, focused and to a large extent, happy.

The two teams that have played so far aren’t so far behind in talent.  It’s more of the need to adjust to the changing game situations.  The SWU Lady Cobras won their first game against Baguio’s St. Louis in a five-set duel.

However, on the second playing date, the Lady Cobras couldn’t adjust and caved in against Arellano University in straight sets.

They were outscored 49-22 on attack points, had only four blocks and no service aces.

SLU dropped its second straight game to Adamson.

The Baguio lasses were a spirited group but needed better setting and blocking to offset the experience of Adamson.  They may have to start stronger against future opponents, especially since UAAP champion Ateneo is in their bracket.

Provincial teams shouldn’t be afraid to play their game and uncork the style that made them champions in their own leagues.

We are reminded of basketball teams like Cebu’s Mama’s Love in the old PABL that attracted hundreds of Manila-based Visayans to the Rizal Coliseum.

Mama’s Love played its own game, filled with spunk and pizzazz.

Playing with fire will not only result in better team performances but also in a more meaningful and educational summer that will improve their own games.

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TAGS: St. Louis, SWU, V-League, Volleyball
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