From the moment the NCAA raised the curtains of its Season 95 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, College of Saint Benilde had been on the right track to success.
The Lady Blazers flaunted their depth and chemistry, securing one win after another. They stayed unsolvable throughout their first seven matches, and were just two triumphant steps away from an outright Finals berth.
However, St. Benilde’s title quest came to a screeching halt. In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NCAA went from suspending its sporting events to terminating the remainder of the season.
The league also reportedly decided that all defending champions will retain their titles, keeping the volleyball tiara with Arellano University while dashing the efforts of the Lady Blazers.
Still, St. Benilde head coach Jerry Yee would be the first to acknowledge that the abrupt end to such a promising campaign could not dampen the experience he and his wards had along the way.
As he put it, “This Season 95, victorious naman ang campaign namin and and we can only look forward to next season.”
Having safety as the topmost priority in mind, Yee and the rest of St. Benilde agree with the league’s decision to cancel the remainder of the season.
“The pandemic is surely bigger than volleyball,” the Filipino-Chinese bench strategist remarked. “The more days we are in social distancing, the more time you get to think, all the more we are informed of the actual situation.
“And if the NCAA board thinks this is the best course of action, we have to follow,” he furthered.
“Sana lang we get through this pandemic.”
As unfortunate as it may seem, the Lady Blazers are taking the sudden turn of events in stride.
Yee, for one, cannot wait to inject his program with more youthful talents in preparation for their redemption bid. Besides that, St. Benilde is also optimistic about its chances in Season 96 after learning of league Management Committee chair Peter Cayco’s statement regarding an extension of playing time for graduating student-athletes.
“Mataas naman ang morale ng team, all are safe home. All are excited kasi next year eligible na other players namin,” Yee said.
“We have good rookies coming in and then ‘di daw i-count ang final year ng mga seniors? We are very very optimistic.”
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