The biggest side story of the intense matchup between FEU and La Salle in the Season 78 2nd round opener was the extra action at the net between middle blockers Remy Palma and Mika Reyes.
In one instance after Palma singlehandedly foiled an attack from Reyes, the 2 were caught on camera exchanging banter on their way to the next play with the La Salle star challenging FEU’s skipper to do it again.
While to some fans taunting is something new, for the Taft Tower, she is already used to the mind games every time the Lady Spikers battle the Lady Tamaraws.
“Every year ganyan kami. Sanay na rin ako, sanay na rin siya. Kita pala sa TV. Akala ko makakalusot,” she quipped.
“Automatic na ‘yun pag sila kalaban eh. Pag si Palma nandyan ever since naman ganun na kami,” added Reyes. “Hindi ako napipikon sa ganyan kasi alam ko sa loob ng court lang ‘yan. At siya din I think hindi napipikon ‘yan. Nag ngitian pa kami after.”
True enough, after La Salle prevailed in the 5th set, the 2 spikers were seen shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, clearly showing that what happens inside the court stays inside the court.
“Friends naman kami niyan. After nga ng game nag-uusap pa kami sa net. Good game ganun. Part ‘yun talaga ng game,” she shared.
Talking about almost losing the game despite taking the 1st 2 sets, the 2-time UAAP champion admitted to having a hard time defending the wide arsenal of FEU’s main gun, Bernadeth Pons.
“Nadali rin kami sa beach volley moves ni Pons,” Reyes told FOX Sports. “Good thing na lang na hindi kami bumitaw sa defense. Nung nakuha din kasi sa amin ‘yung 3rd set, naiisahan kami. Mga check ball, hindi namin nakukuha.”
Now with a 6-2 record, the Lady Spikers have already experienced different scenarios from sweeping opponents, being swept to needing 5 gruelling sets to succeed.
This, in the long run, will prove valuable to their campaign, says Reyes.
On the biggest takeaway from the battle, she shares, “Ang positive na nakuha namin dun is na-challenge ‘yung team. 1st time namin ngayong season na umabot ng 5th set eh. Na-challenge kami na hindi kami bumibigay sa 5 sets na game.”
The surprising loss to UST and the mid-game meltdown against FEU has started to become a cause of concern for the La Salle hopeful.
But for reyes and the rest of her teammates, these struggles shall only fuel them to strive even harder heading into the deep waters of the competition.
“Hindi naman kami nagwo-worry. Hindi naman kasi kami ganun mag mindset,” assured Yeye, as she is fondly called by her fans and teammates.
“Hindi rin makakatulong kung iisipin naming after talo 5 sets. Tapos next naming game UST ulit,” she added. “Mas magkakaron ng motivation sa team na at least hindi dumiretso ang talo. Dapat positive lang talaga every game.” — By Mac Dionisio