For years, the FEU’s women’s volleyball team has been tagged as a rebuilding team due to some of its players making early exits despite not having exhausted their years of eligibility in the UAAP.
The Lady Tamaraws’ 2016 campaign could have suffered the same fate as towering middle blocker Geneveve Casugod decided to forego her last playing year a couple of months before the tournament’s kick off.
The big blow was softened, however, as former best setter Gyzelle Sy returned for another round of collegiate action.
But if you ask team captain Remy Palma, the Morayta squad is still reeling from Casugod’s decision.
“Malaking kawalan si Gen (Casugod) kasi 3 lang kaming middle blockers na nagro-totation. Tapos si Malabanan ginagawa pang open. So 2 na lang kami nung rookie na si Villareal,” she told FOX Sports.
“Mahirap ‘yun kasi minsan off ang isang player. Kaya oo naman, malaking malaking kawalan siya lalo na sa blockings namin,” added the middle blocker.
What pushed Casugod to leave Morayta? Palma says it has something to do with her former teammate starting her own family.
“Before pa, may family concerns na talaga. Kasi nung umuwi siya noon, unang reason na sinabi niya sa amin is family problem,” shared the skipper. “Siyempre kami ayaw namin mangialam. Suporta at guide lang kami every time na kailangan niya ng kausap pero internally, ayaw namin makialam.”
“Then eventually nalaman namin na may family na siya. Pero alam namin babalik pa siya dapat pero hindi na pala. Malaking sayang,” she added.
Though missing a veteran player who is a big part of the rotation was a big roadblock, FEU is making it work, utilizing rookie Jeanette Villareal.
The key, Palma says, is to make the freshman realize that being a rookie doesn’t mean one should play like a newbie inside the court.
“Gina-guide din naman namin ‘yung thinking niya na huwag mong isipin na 1st year ka kasi same-same lang din naman ‘yung ginagawa namin. Mentally na lang talaga ang labanan kung paano mo siya i-deliver sa loob,” she said talking about how the team is guiding the young gun.
Halfway through the first round of eliminations with a 2-2 record, FEU remains in the upper bracket of the rankings, hoping to surpass its Final Four finish last year.
Casugod may have bid the team goodbye but Palma says she thinks they still have what it takes to achieve the team’s biggest goal for 2016.
“We’ll make it work. Hindi naman ‘yun excuse kasi hindi naman pwede lahat i-asa namin sa kanya (Casugod),” said the spiker.
“Nandito din naman kami eh. Hindi naman dahilan na wala ‘yung isa wala na kami. Siguro naging kabawasan pero mapupunan. May mga bago kami na matuturuan,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio