By Alvin Guiao Santos (LSGH’97/DLSU ‘03)
There are five stages of grief and in less than a week, I’m now at the final stage following DLSU’s heartbreaking 5-set loss and eventual ouster in the semi-finals of the Women’s UAAP Season 81 Volleyball league.
Acceptance. This comes as a surprise considering the semi-finals loss came after 10 straight years of UAAP glory, fighting for and most of the time, 70% to be exact, winning the UAAP Championship. Winning has become second nature it’s unimaginable not seeing green and white jerseys on one side of the court slug it out for the championship. This season surely took us on a roller coaster ride of emotions with slight ups and very sharp drops.
Now that it’s done, the dust of emotions have somehow settled and we have exhaled a breath of relief, it can now be said that, to be honest, there was a teeny tiny cloud of doubt hovering over our heads as soon as Season 80 ended, on a very high note at that, with a 3-peat Championship and 3 much celebrated and decorated superstars graduating, Baron, Dy and Macandili. This lasted until before the new season started when it was announced that former Lady Eagles standout, Michelle Morente, will not be in the roster after so much hype. A very bold and quite controversial move by the management if I may say so myself.
To have any tinge of doubt with your team, of course, is something that no true Lasallian will ever admit to nor even entertain. But true to the Never Shall We Fail attitude too, we gut it out, stick to our guns and trust the man and his system. At this point, not to take away anything from our girls, left with no superstars in the line-up, we rested on our laurels and placed our hopes on Ramil De Jesus and his seemingly formidable system plus our girls’ teamwork and that familiar swag which we hoped could win us the championship by itself.
The season starts and we come out with bows and arrows blazing. A very convincing win against our arch rivals. And so the cloud of doubt dissipates and we now cling our 4-peat hopes to another hero in the very promising rookie, Jolina Dela Cruz, who had instantly become a household name and a beacon of hope for DLSU Volleyball. And she did not disappoint proving worthy of the precious RDJ playing time throughout the season. This season had bright spots, with the emphatic sweep of Ateneo and that round two payback win against UST who eventually edged us out to the championship. And the low points with those back to back losses against UP who ironically did not make the final four and that sorry round two loss against FEU which I think was quite pivotal and could have spelled the difference in our overall performance this season.
RDJ handling two teams in two different major leagues should have also affected our outcome, to be honest. For it is said, no man, even the brilliant RDJ apparently, can serve two masters. But that’s that. We are where we are supposed to be. We learn from the lessons of the past and move on. And again, trust the man and the system.
All good things must come to an end, yes, but greater things rise again! See you in the championship next year (insert worthy opponent here)!
In the meantime, bring out the popcorn and let’s all enjoy stress-free watching, for this season at least. Best of luck to both worthy finalists. Give us a good series!