Banged-up La Salle limits expectations in upcoming Super League
MANILA, Philippines—The La Salle Lady Spikers are tempering their expectations heading into the Shakey’s Super League with their core players still recovering from injuries they sustained in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament last May.
Ramil De Jesus’ longtime assistant coach Noel Orcullo is tasked to call the shots for the Lady Spikers in the preseason collegiate volleyball tournament, which opens on Saturday next week, at Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
La Salle will begin its Pool D campaign against Far Eastern University on October 1.
“Coach Ramil asked to handle the team. Expect a different style of coaching but still the same system. Because coach Ramil and I have different styles in coaching a team,” said Orcullo in Filipino during the press conference on Saturday at Philippine Sports Commission Hall.
Orcullo admitted they almost didn’t participate due to injuries, which he didn’t specify. But they can’t miss the chance to be part of the historic preseason tournament, where all 10 NCAA teams and eight UAAP schools vie for the title.
“Actually, we’re not ready to join but it would be embarrassing if we’re the only team that can’t join. We were supposed to field our second team but we decided to bring the whole team,” said Orcullo. “Some of them (players) are recovering from injuries from the last UAAP season.”
“So expect that we can’t play all-out like what is expected from us. Hopefully, we can still get good results,” he added.
Bannering La Salle are UAAP Season 84’s best middle blocker Thea Gagate, Aleiah Malaluan, Leila Cruz, Fifi Sharma, Jolina Dela Cruz, Mars Alba, and libero Justine Jazareno in the league, which will implement an all-to-play format with all players listed in a team’s roster must be fielded every game.
However, Orcullo said most of their UAAP holdovers will play limited action due to their health woes even their incoming rookie Angel Canino, who is nursing a right ankle sprain she sustained in practice.
“Mostly, they will have a limited playing time because they are still recovering. We can’t force them,” he said. “Canino is also under recovery because she got injured during practice. Although she already got the clearance from our doctor and physical therapist. I hope she will be fully recovered in time (for the SSL).”
Although the Lady Spikers are not in top shape, Orcullo is still hoping to go far in the Super League, where they are grouped with FEU, NCAA champion College of Saint Benilde, and Letran in Pool D, aside from getting exposure.
“One of our goals is to get exposure. But we’re not training just to place second. We will also try our best to reach the next round,” Orcullo said.
The top two teams of each pool will advance to the next round where they will be grouped into two pools for another round-robin play to determine their ranking in the knockout quarterfinals. Both the semifinal and final are also knockout matches.