In the past, we have seen players stand out for the Lady Spikers on their first year. As rookies, the likes of Melissa Gohing, Aby Marano, Mika Esperanza, Ara Galang and Mika Reyes were already part of the team’s regular rotation. Three of the aforementioned went on to be named rookie-of-the-year.
For graduating seniors Majoy Baron, Kim Dy and Dawn Macandili, they took a different path in their road to success. They hardly got to play extensively in their first two seasons in which the Lady Spikers lost to Ateneo twice in the finals. It must have been painful for them to just watch from the sideline and not being able to help the team.
Coach Ramil De Jesus remembered the time when the three were recruited, he knew that he had his work cut out for him. Of course they all excelled in the high school level but he admitted that there was nothing special in them.
Sa totoo lang, nung nakita ko sila (Dy, Baron), height lang nakita ko. Ito naman (Dawn) di ko pinapansin,” said De Jesus smiling after the graduating trio led the Lady Spikers to a third straight UAAP women’s volleyball championship – and 11th overall.
“Alam ko sasakit ulo ko sa pagtuturo. Bihira yung dumadating sa akin na players na very talented. Hard worker itong mga to kaya umangat level nila,” he added.
You see, coach Ramil is that type who does not really care if you were a standout back in high school. He rather gets players that are raw but with good potential. He will patiently teach them until the time comes that they are ready. The hard work paid off eventually.
Moreover, Dy, Macandili and Baron’s collection of individual awards proved that sheer hard work really pays off.
The trio knew what heartbreak felt like when 4 years ago, the Lady Spikers failed to complete their 4-peat title bid as fierce rival Ateneo overcame their thrice-to-beat advantage to steal the Season 76 crown.
But the UAAP championship returned to La Salle two seasons later – the year that Dy stepped up on the way to winning the Season 78 Finals MVP award.
The following year, middle blocker Baron surprisingly outplayed National University star Jaja Santiago to capture the Season 79 MVP award.
This season, it was Macandili’s turn to cop a Finals MVP plum as the libero’s defensive skills also proved key in the Lady Spikers’ campaign.
For Dawn, being named best player of the finals series is something she did not expect given her position as libero. Though she does the dirty work on the defensive end, she is happy that her contributions has resulted to three straight championships.
“Talagang hindi ko po talaga in-expect na sa akin mapupunta ‘yung Finals MVP kasi nga po non-scoring position,” said Macandili.
“Ako naman po, ginagawa ko lang ‘yung kailangan ng team. ‘Yung pagiging successful ko talagang dahil lang ‘yun sa success ng team.”
“Siguro it’s the best decision I made na mag-La Salle kasi hindi lang ‘yung skills ko ang na-develop ni coach kundi pati ang character ko as a person, inside and outside the court.
“So ayun thankful ako kina coach na dinevelop niya kami na mga players niya not only inside the court but also outside,”
The Lady Spikers has produced a lot of great players throughout the years but the story of these three is not only special but truly inspiring as well. They are fitting testimony to coach Ramil’s commitment to player development.
Replacing Majoy, Kim and Dawn will be hard but the 11-time champion coach is confident that just like them, there will be others who will be ready to step up next season.