Earlier this year, the BanKo Perlas Spikers were set to make franchise history, pushing powerhouse PayMaya High Flyers to a do-or-die tilt in the PVL Reinforced Conference semis.
The Perlas Spikers featured two of the best imports of the conference in former Thai National Team player Jutarat Montripilia and high-flying American Kia Bright.
Come the fateful Game Three, however, the pair ran out of gas and the Perlas Spikers had to settle for a bronze finish.
In the Open Conference, though, they no longer have their stellar reinforcements, so the Perlas Spikers have benefited from the revitalized play of two of their original players, Nicole Tiamzon and Dzi Gervacio.
The two have been lethal scorers, almost carrying the same amount of the offense as their past imports. Both have benefited from the months of rest and preparation, as well as a clear mandate from their coach.
“Sabi ko sa kanila na kailangan talaga sila ng team na ‘to hindi lang para sa leadership, pero para sa puntos,” said BanKo head coach Dong Dela Cruz.
“Alam naman natin kung gaano ka-importante ‘yung open hitter na position. Malaki ang tiwala sa kanila ng team na kayang-kaya nila mag-deliver.”
Tiamzon, who has been averaging 14.3 points over BanKo’s last three games, has lifted her game considerably from the last conference, when she momentarily dabbled in politics and continued promoting her non-profit organization, Spike and Serve.
The former University of the Philippines star, however, credits most of her success to her team’s overall brilliant play.
“Sabi nga ni coach, every time, kahit sino ‘yung hugutin mo sa bench nakakapag-contribute naman. So ‘pag binigyan ka ng task, ‘pag binigyan ka ng opportunity makapaglaro gawin mo yung part mo, hindi ka man makapatay sa opensa bawi ka sa opensa,” she said.
“Siguro factor na rin ‘pag misreceived sa amin mapupunta yung bola, so kung kaya mo patayin papatayin mo talaga.”
Gervacio, who is norming 20.3 points per match this conference, reveals that she did a lot of extra work over the off-season to get in better shape.
The time in the gym has been fruitful as the former Lady Eagle is playing her best volleyball since tearing an ACL in 2015.
“I just really focused on being healthy all throughout the games and ‘yun also the managers stepped up. We acquired a new strength and conditioning coach with his own facilities,” Gervacio said of the team’s regimen.
“So kahit siya, he understands the athlete’s body as well, kasi hindi lang siya basta-basta trainer and we take into consideration also rest.”
Brandishing a league-best 5-0 record, the Perlas Spikers emphasize the need for consistency for their remaining games.
“Tiwala naman kasi sa skills ng players namin. Siguro ngayon kailangan lang ma-carry over namin lahat ng ginagawa naming tama and makapag-adjust kung kakailanganin,” closed Dela Cruz.
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