Prior to UE’s last hurrah in Season 78, Francis Vicente already had one foot out the door as head coach of the embattled team.
His final decision on whether he would stay as top honcho or not depended on how his wards would perform against Adamson Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Based on the 25-17, 25-22, 29-27 victory of the Lady Warriors, however, all the uncertainties in Vicente’s future with UE have been wiped out and replaced with tears of joy as the Recto crew ended what was a long and painful 58-game losing streak in the UAAP.
On his final ultimatum for his girls, Vicente shares, “I told them walang bibigay. Sabi ko sa kanila, if they won’t win, alis na ako kasi hindi ako sanay na natatalo. Ngayon sabi ko pag nanalo kayo, nandyan ako sa tabi niyo.”
With this in mind, the Lady Warriors came firing from the get-go as they outperformed the Lady Falcons in all aspects of the match, showing their desire to have their beloved coach continue his tenure with UE.
Junior spiker Shaya Adorador, who tasted her first win in the collegiate ranks, finished with 14 markers while towering Roselle Baliton chipped in 13 points of her own.
Though the veterans delivered, it was the complete team work and maturity of the team that brought its head coach in tears after the final buzzer.
“‘Yung feeling ko umiiyak ako. Umiiyak ako kasi natigil namin ‘yung 58 games na losing streak tapos straight sets pa,” said a proud and fatherly Vicente. “Hindi sila bumigay eh. Dun mo masasabi na nagma-mature na ‘yung team. Hopefully next year, we’ll be up there (in the rankings).”
For Adamson, only Jema Galanza finished in double digits with 13 points which was clearly not enough to end the team’s problematic season on a winning note.
Famed as one of the coaches who developed some of today’s biggest names in PH volleyball, it was nothing but natural for Vicente’s ego to get hurt as he was on the verge on ending his second season at the helm of UE without a single win.
Now that hope has finally dawned in the east, the coach lauded his girls for sticking with him despite the many times he may have lost his temper.
“Natutuwa ako sa kanila kasi nakita ko na ‘yung maturity,” he told the press. “Natanggap na nila ‘yung sungit ko, ‘yung pagiging sadista kong coach, ‘yung mga masasakit kong salita. At first ang daming problema. Pero ‘yung problema na ‘yun kaya naman namin i-overcome.”
“Pag nag mature ‘yan I can say na malakas tapos may papasok pa na mga players na matataas pa, mga kasing taas ni Baliton. Ayoko lang mag bulgar pa kasi secret ko ‘yan,” he closed. — By Mac Dionisio