It is a common practice in volleyball wherein both the setter and the spiker will adjust to each other and meet halfway to create the perfect play.
But for veteran Rubie de Leon, this is not the case.
Having proven time and again how she is the master of adjustments when it comes to playmaking, De Leon is now weaving her magic into club team Generika where she has brought a new dimension to the attacking prowess of Ria Meneses and Chloe Cortez.
While both Meneses and Cortez have shown flashes of brilliance in Season 78, they, too, have struggled in connecting with their setters which became one of the reasons why UST found itself outside the semis for the fourth straight time.
This struggle does not seem to exist in the ongoing 2016 PSL All-Filipino Conference as the Tigresses have unleashed the beasts inside them, surprising the sport’s spectators.
Asked about how she does it, De Leon scratches her head and says: “Hindi ko alam.”
“As a setter siguro ‘yun ang trabaho namin eh. Kasi hindi naman lahat ng spiker pare-parehas ng gustong set. Merong may gusto ng mataas, merong may gusto medyo dikit sa net,” she added. “Sa training, kailangan lang nagco-communicate kayo. Kung tama ang set, i-maintain ko at kung mali, kailangan nag-uusap lang.”
The España spikers are not the first recipients of de Leon’s playmaking wonders as she did the same to NU’s Dindin and Jaja Santiago, eventually leading the Lady Bulldogs to a championship in the V-League.
At this point, she hopes Generika’s secondary setter and UST’s veteran playmaker, Alex Cabaños, is watching closely in preparation for Season 79.
“Dapat kung maglaro man ako sa loob, dapat tinitignan niya kasi sinasabihan din naman siya ni coach na kung ano ‘yung ginagawa ko, sana matutunan niya din,” shared the former national team member.
On keeping the UST tradition of producing top toer setters, she adds: “Hopefully makuha niya kasi alam naman natin na ang UST kilala sa magagaling na setter. Sana magtuloy-tuloy ‘yung ganung pagkilala sa UST.”
Though they dropped their latest assignment against Foton, the Lifesavers managed to prove they are no pushovers despite battling club teams that have been training together for a long time.
Shaya Adorador, Wensh Tiu, Cortez and Meneses all finished in double digits, combining for 50 big points but this was not enough as the team’s inexperience made them all sputter in the end game.
“Feeling ko kinakabahan sila. Natatakot silang magkamali kaya ang ending, nage-error sila,” observed De Leon. “Nakakapanghinayang minsan ‘yung tipong sine-set mo na ng maayos kahit ‘yung receive hindi sakto, minsan walang blocker, hindi pa rin nila mapatay.”
Good thing going for the Francis Vicente-led squad is this is only their second outing of the season, allowing them to start over in their next game with a 1-1 record.
On handling a younger set of teammates, the setter shares: “Mahirap naman kasing sigawan ‘yung mga bata. Siyempre mga bata pa ‘yan. Ang mentality nila wala pa sa ganitong klase ng liga.”
“First 2 games naman. Sinabi na lang namin ng mga coaches na at least nalaman namin ‘yung weakness namin at strengths ng kalaban para pag nagkita ulit kami alam na namin anong gagawin,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio