Kim Kianna Dy and Dawn Nicole Macandili are two of the Lady Spikers’ sophomores who saw action this year. Dy, a graduate of De La Salle Zobel, was one of Coach Ramil de Jesus’ aces off the bench this year, while Macandili, who studied in DLSU Lipa but graduated from Zobel, had been this season’s main Libero. Among La Salle’s bunch of players, the duo experienced hurt on the big stage twice after having to settle for silver in their first two seasons in Taft. It can be argued that the landscape of UAAP volleyball has changed with rivals Ateneo ruling the competition for two straight years now, but the constant presence of DLSU in the finals underlines the excellence of the program, whilst others withered or faced a decline.
“Nag-iba ‘yung competition. Parang hindi na kami ‘yung nasa taas, so kailangan pa naming pumukpok pa sa training,” shared Macandili. Indeed, Season 77 was one of the most competitive seasons in women’s volleyball, with seven teams winning at least five games. Although eventual winners Ateneo won the title unscathed, they were pushed to the limit by other schools, as they had to outlast La Salle, UP, and Adamson in five-set encounters. As for DLSU, four of the five defeats may have come against the Ateneans, but the entire campaign has been challenging too. En route to securing second place, the team had to grind out some difficult wins against fellow playoff contenders. To weather the storm, Dy expressed gratitude to the much experienced seniors, all of whom also experienced the joy of winning in the finals. “Kapag may kailangan kaming matutunan, nandoon sila kasi more experienced sila,” she stated.
As the cliché goes, what does not kill you makes you stronger. Season 77 goes down as another learning experience for the sophomores who will be tasked to carry a heavier load for the team next season, as they become more mature on and off the court. With that in mind, they promise to be ready to restore La Salle’s supremacy in women’s volleyball. “We’re going to push ourselves to be the best that we can, para in the next season mapu-prove namin na kaya namin,” uttered Dy, whose nickname in the team is Kianna to alleviate confusion with senior teammate Kim Fajardo. The past two years tested their mettle on the court, and everything they encountered helped them to do more not just for themselves, but for the entire community. “Siguro yung pinagdaanan ng team hindi siya madali, mahirap siya so doon sa mahirap na challenges na pinagdaanan ng team parang doon ako humugot ng confidence,” Macandili aired.
The green background these players have is also a driving force to succeed, having been Lasallians since childhood. “We’re carrying the La Salle name, and siyempre from La Salle [even before college] ako, so parang nakakatuwa na I’m playing for the school I grew up [in],” expressed the Batangueña Libero. “We’re going to fight for the school, for our pride ‘yun,” added Dy, who also offered thanks to the unwavering support despite experiencing bridesmaid finishes in her first two years at DLSU. Come Season 78, La Salle’s crop of young players will do everything they can to give the Lasallian community a reason to celebrate anew, as they aim to take home the gold to where they believe it belongs—within the walls of DLSU.