La Salle graduating players on 10th Finals appearance: ‘This is for Coach Ramil’

With possibly only two or three games left before their colofrul collegiate careers formally close, La Salle’s graduating players Majoy Baron, Kim Dy, and Dawn Macandili vowed to go all-out come Finals of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.

The DLSU Lady Spikers booked its 10th straight Finals ticket after crushing NU Lady Bulldogs in the semifinals, 27-25, 25-22, 25-11 yesterday.

Dy topscored for the Taft-based squad with 17 markers built on 15 kills. Baron chipped in nine, while Macandili played her part on the defensive end with 23 digs and 10 receptions.

FOR LA SALLE, FOR DE JESUS

Asked about their motivations to reach the Finals, the troika said they dedicate the win to their mentor, Ramil de Jesus.

De Jesus, arguably the winningest coach in the UAAP for the past two decades, molded Baron from a lanky middle spiker to a fearsome force at the net.

“Ako personally ang motivation ko lang ay ayaw kong masira ‘yung record ni coach. Sobrang nabilib din ako sa sistema niya and ‘yung mga seniors ko before at ayaw kong putulin ‘yung history na nagawa nila sa time ko ngayon. So ‘yun ‘yung motivation ko ngayon,” Baron said.

Macandili, meanwhile, morped into an international caliber defender through de Jesus’ Spartan-like training.

“Siyempre last playing year namin, gusto namin na maging maganda ang exit namin at gusto namin ialay ito kay Coach kasi wala naman kami dito kung hindi dahil sa kanya. Ibibigay na namin lahat,” the pint-sized libero, who has been under de Jesus’ wings since her De La Salle Zobel days, shared.

Meanwhile, Dy, a fellow DLSZ alumna, wants to bring another three-peat title to Taft as well as honor her long-time coach.

“This is our chance to bring back the three-peat and siyempre lahat ng sacrifices namin, lahat ng pinaghirapan namin, ito na ‘yung final test namin,” Dy said.

“We want to show coach na these are the players that you produced. We want to honor it for you,” the season 78 Finals MVP added.

A BATTLE BETWEEN TWO DIESELS

This year’s Finals series will surely be one for the books.

The green-and-white squad will be locking horns agaist FEU on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Lady Spikers narrowly escaped the team from Morayta during both of their five-setter matches in the eliminations.

Baron, the reigning MVP, disregards these wins, saying both teams are back to zero going to the finals.

“‘Yung experience, siguro ‘yun ‘yung lamang namin since ilang years naman na kami sa Finals,” Baron said when asked about what could be their advantage from FEU.

Macandili, season 78 best libero, said that they would have to work harder if they want to continue and convert their nine-game winning streak into a UAAP title.

“Doble ‘yung pag-aaral, doble ‘yung tiyaga sa training, doble ‘yung mental toughness at tibay ng puso kasi last games na ‘to ng UAAP kailangan may panapos,” Macandili said.

For the first time since their entry in the league in season 76, the defending champs will face a different yet equally determined contender in the Finals after FEU kicked out their long-time rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles.

Dy, though, thinks that the upcoming Finals will still be the same, Ateneo or not.

“For me, i think it’s gonna be the same. Iba lang ‘yung aura ‘pag Ateneo-La Salle, siyempre nandoon ‘yung school rivalry. But I think FEU will also bring their crowd, so we’ll never know,” Dy said.

Baron believes that FEU, who is gunning for its 30th title, deserves to be in the Finals with them.

“Since sila ‘yung nandiyan sa Finals, ibig sabihin deserved nila na nandoon din sila. Sila talaga ‘yung ka-match [namin],” the La Salle skipper said.

“Siguro challenge din kasi first round [at] second round hindi biro ‘yung five sets. Feeling ko naman may advantage kami kasi lagi kaming nasa Finals and tiwala naman ako sa teammates ko and sa coaches na mabibigay namin ‘yung best namin,” Macandili agreed.

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