Shakeys Super League: The Clash of Sister Schools
Lady Blazers Photo By Michaela Sherry Arguelles of The Benildean Press Corps, Lady Spikers
Photo by John Mauricio
It’s a matchup only seen once in a blue, I mean green moon. A battle between two green-and-white schools, both adhering to the LaSallian Core Values and following the teachings of St. John Baptist De La Salle and St. Benilde Romancon. Two of the top collegiate women’s volleyball teams, both at the top of their games, both aspiring to take the title in their respective collegiate leagues.
Both Pep Squads using the same beats and cheers. Both teams sharing the same Alma Mater song. Both teams ending their prayers with “St. John Baptiste De La Salle, Pray for Us. Live Jesus in Our Hearts. Forever”.
It’s a mouth-watering game between teams donning the Green-and-White and White-and-Green uniforms. The defending NCAA champions against the UAAP runner-up. Incidentally, both teams have been described as having the “Taft Towers”, a nod to their overpowering net play.
The luck of the draw brought CSB and DLSU into the same group together with their league-mates Letran and FEU. Only the top two teams from the group will advance. Letran and FEU had not figured to place in the group, after these two teams landed at the bottom of the standings last season in their leagues.
Both the Lady Blazers and the Lady Spikers have played one game – against the same opponent, FEU. Both games went 5 sets. Unfortunately CSB faltered in the deciding set, while DLSU steadied themselves to avoid the upset. Under new coach Tina Salak, FEU appears to have shed their loser reputation, and fought tooth-and-nail against the favored green-and-white teams.
Letran still has to play its first game right before the CSB-DLSU match tomorrow, and this game will have a bearing on the game between the sister schools. This match will have major implications for the group placings. Assuming Letran plays true to form:
· If FEU wins against Letran, they finish with a 2-1 card,
· If CSB prevails against La Salle and Letran, then
o The Lady Blazers will have 2-1 record to avert the risk of outright elimination;
o La Salle probably ends up with a 2-1 with an expected win over Letran;
· If DLSU wins vs CSB, then
o it’s almost a sure passage into the playoffs because they’re expected to win on Sunday against Letran in the 2nd game of a back-to-back;
o The Lady Spikers probably finish 3-0 to top the group
o The FEU-Letran game will determine whether CSB has a chance;
§ If FEU wins, they go through with a 2-1 record and Letran is eliminated
§ If Letran wins, CSB has to beat Letran to go 2-1 tied with FEU; the tiebreaker rules still have to be determined
The Lady Blazers swept the NCAA Season 97 tournament with the loss of ONLY 1 SET. Contrast that with UAAP champion NU, which likewise swept all their games (including two 3-0 results against DLSU) but dropped a total of 4 sets along the way.
The Lady Blazers’ buildup started in the aborted Season 95 where they ended with a 7-0 record, having 2 games cancelled. They fulfilled that promise the next season, unloading that pent-up energy against the hapless opponents in a truly dominant performance probably unequalled in women’s volleyball. Under Coach Jerry Yee, the Lady Blazers have built a formidable team capable of contending for the next few seasons in whatever tournament they participate in.
The Lady Spikers, on the other hand, had a moderately successful campaign in UAAP S84 where they placed second. Moderate? Well, the expectation was for them to take the title in the aborted S82 edition, which ended after La Salle had only played one game, a 3-0 whitewashing of Ateneo.
With essentially the same lineup, although minus any players with a championship, the Lady Spikers had figured to contend. And they did, although with a few hiccups along the way when they ended with a 10-4 record, losing twice to NU, and once each to ADU and UST. The NU sweep meant that the playoffs would follow a stepladder format.
Ateneo outlasted UST in the first stepladder match, but were no match for the Lady Spikers who dispatched them in straight sets. The finals was another matter, as NU gave the Lady Spikers the same kind of treatment the Taft team had dished out against Ateneo. Twice. NU reaped the benefit of having their core together since grade school, and it showed as the Lady Bulldogs were surer, faster, and more powerful.
So, the game tomorrow, October 8 at 3pm will be an interesting match for sure. Green diehards vs green diehards.
Given the relationship between the schools, a win might feel like a loss, and a loss might not be so disappointing.
Whatever the result, at the end of the game, the teams will sing the Alma Mater at the same time. As befits sister teams.