YOUNG AND HUNGRY for a championship, the San Beda Red Spikers youth core took the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) Season 98 volleyball competition with their knit and grit towards a silver podium finish.
While short of being hailed as champions, the youthful Red Spikers pushed the defending champions University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) Altas to the limit as the final series extended to a win or go home championship game.
After suffering a heartbreaking three-set loss in the first match of the series and losing the first two sets in their second match, the Spikers roared back to win game two of the finals to snap the 32-game winning streak of UPHSD, giving a fifth set match to challenge the Altas.
Unfortunately, the Red Spikers’ efforts were insufficient to win it all, as they had to settle with a first runner-up finish. Nevertheless, Coach Ariel Diaz, the Head Coach for the Red Spikers commended the Mendiola-based squad’s performance in Season 98.
“Ang hiling ko lang sa mga player(s) makapasok lang kami ng final four, champion na sila sa’kin,” he said proudly, as the squad of mostly first year students exuded excellence and confidence in their Season 98 journey.
Aside from that, the roster of Red Spikers had reached the NCAA MVT Finals for the first time to break a 12-year curse.
Captain ball, Jerome Lopez was proud even though the results of their do or die game was bittersweet on their end. “Sobrang proud kasi…itong pagkatalo namin though masakit tsaka malungkot naisip na din namin na champion na din kami. Kasi from pandemic na halos walang naniniwala samin, napakita namin na kaya naming lumaban until…championship,” Lopez shared.
Further, Lopez stressed out their performance that even though they weren’t able to bring home the crown for Season 98, they were able to achieve and prove something as a team.
“Nakakadisappoint pero at the same time nakakaproud…nakarating kami dito naputol namin… yung streak nung nila nung game 2. Pero yun malungkot kasi di namin nagawang makuha yung championship. Pero masaya pa din. Napakita namin na kaya namin lumaban sa kanila kahit underleague kami,” Lopez elaborated regarding their final match against the Altas.
In terms of skills, Coach Ariel recognized the improvement of the squad especially in the attacking department. However, he emphasized the need to develop the reception of the squad.
Moving forward, the Red Spikers are expected to run it back in the next season. In preparation, Coach Ariel mentioned that he plans to expose the team in different leagues to further hone their skills and develop their game. “Isasali ko sila sa mga malalakas na league and paghahandaan namin yung Shakey’s V-League,” he shared.
Heeding their coach’s guidance, Lopez shared that the team looks to rest for a while before coming back to the court for training, conditioning, and focusing on possible upcoming leagues as part of their preparation for their comeback in Season 99.
Furthermore, Lopez expressed his sincere gratitude to the whole Bedan community for their undying support to the squad.
“Una ano thank you sa kanila kasi kahit na talo kami ng game 1… game 2 and game 3…sumuporta pa din sila. Sobrang saya maging…isang Bedista. Kasi…no matter what happens sinusuportahan nila kami. Ayon, maraming maraming salamat sa inyo. Babawi tayo,” the exact heartfelt message of the Red Spikers’ Team Captain for Season 98.
“Sa San Beda community, ‘wag kayong magsawang supportahan kami hanggang dulo,” Coach Ariel expressed, as the young Red Spikers are just beginning their run. He further promised that the Bedan Community can expect them to comeback the following seasons to win-it-all for San Beda.