La Salle not satisfied after latest title win
MANILA, Philippines — Despite ruling the Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals, La Salle still has a lot of things to work on ahead of its title defense in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament next year.
Amid the absence of several key players including rookie MVP Angel Canino, the Lady Spikers earned their second championship this year after outlasting the Adamson Lady Falcons, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17, in a do-or-die Finals Game 3 on Sunday at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Behind the stellar play of newly-minted MVP Shevana Laput, La Salle pulled off a series comeback after a five-set collapse in Game 1 to sweep Adamson in back-to-back days for the National Invitationals crown.
Lady Spikers assistant coach Noel Orcullo, however, stressed that they are not satisfied with the progress of their team as new starting setter Julia Coronel and her fellow playmakers Julyan Tolentino and Ela Raagas still need to work on their connection with their attackers.
La Salle also continues to search for a consistent libero after Lyka De Leon and converted defensive specialist Matet Espina filled in the absence of Justine Jazareno, who has been rumored of being recruited by Premier Volleyball League teams.
La Salle remained mum about Jazareno’s status since the coaches had said she would rest this tournament with Canino.
“Assessment ko medyo marami pang kailangan baguhin yung koneksyon ng mga setters, tatlong setter yung pinaikot namin kailangan pa ng magandang connection at the same time yung libero medyo kulang na kulang talaga sobra kaya talagang naghahanap kami ng maglilibero sa team. Libero na nga si Espina. Maghahanap pa kami,” said Orcullo. “Kailangan namin doblehin yung effort ng libero para magconnect sa setter at the same time yung setter magconnect sa spikers.”
(We still have a lot to adjust. The setters have to form a better connection with their teammates. We tried three-setters this tournament. We’re also looking at our players who can play libero because we are still lacking in that position. Our liberos should double their effort to be able to build a connection with the setter and at the same time our setters should connect to the spikers.)
The Lady Spikers relished their first SSL crown, winning six of seven games in the tournament, which featured the top UAAP and NCAA schools and qualifiers from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
But Orcullo said they need to double time as the core of their rival National University, led by Southeast Asia (SEA) VLeague second leg Best Opposite Spiker Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen, represented the Philippine women’s volleyball team against the regional powerhouse clubs.
“Like yung NU nakaexpose sila internationally so talagang mataas yung level na hahabulin namin sa kanila. Halos wala namang nawala sa NU, sa amin andami. Kailangan hindi lang doble effort, triple ang kailangan namin habulin,” he said.
(NU was exposed internationally so the level that we need to reach went up. We lost more players compared to them so we need to triple the effort to reach their level.)
La Salle will assess if it will see action in the SSL 2nd Preseason Collegiate Championship later this year as it continues life without graduates Jolina Dela Cruz and Mars Alba as well as Fifi Sharma, who already turned pro with Akari.