Jema Galanza’s ascent in the Philippine volleyball ranks has been one of the top stories in the past year after she took charge for a star-studded Creamline Cool Smashers squad in the Premier Volleyball League.
Playing behind the shadows of star teammates like Alyssa Valdez — who had to juggle club and national team duties – Galanza finally proved her worth in the Open Conference where she spearheaded Creamline’s title bid.
The 23-year-old Galanza was also named as the Most Valuable Player and the First Best Open Hitter in the conference after tallying a total of 226 points off of 192 spikes, 19 service aces, and 15 blocks.
But behind Galanza’s massive improvements were the coaches who helped mold her to become the player she was today. And the former Adamson team captain had plenty of support from that department.
The hard-hitting daughter of San Pablo, Laguna had the chance to learn the ropes from coaches Sherwin Meneses, Domeng Custodio, and Air Padda during her five-year stint with the Lady Falcons.
“Si Coach Sherwin sobrang bait.
“Siguro kasi lalaki siya and father din siya, so medyo takot ako sa kanya. But talagang tuturuan ka naman niya ‘pag nakitaan ka niya ng potential. Saglit ko lang din siya naging coach, mga isa’t kalahating taon, [kasi] mid-season nawala siya,” said Galanza in Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ So She Did!, presented by SMART.
“Si Coach Domeng, ginuguide niya lang kami.
“Hindi siya talaga ‘yung nagbibigay ng programs. Hindi niya binago ‘yung system. Kasi ‘yun naman ‘yung pagkaalis ni coach Sherwin, pumasok siya. So ginuguide niya lang talaga kami nung time na ‘yun,” she continued.
The three all had their hand in the development of Galanza. But for her, it was Padda who really pushed her to become the best version of herself — thanks to the American mentor’s motivational style of coaching.
“Siguro ‘yung way din niya nang pagmo-motivate, talagang mamo-motivate ka talaga.
“Parang ako rin, sinabi kong gusto kong mag-improve rin kasi sayang ‘yung tinuturo niya kung hindi ka matututo. Sabi ko, kung ano ‘yung ibibigay niyang program sa akin, gagawin ko siya. Talagang gagawin ko siya everyday nang pinaka-the best ko,” shared Galanza.
When she stepped onto the semi-pro scene, Galanza was once again able to learn from the best, playing under Tai Bundit, who steered Ateneo to a three-peat in the UAAP.
The Thai mentor brought out the best in Galanza, since she finally stood out in the semi-pro scene under his watch. And he did it by making Galanza focus on something beyond her physical abilities.
“Sa training hindi po ako vocal. Pinapagalitan nga ako ni coach Tai e, kasi si Coach Tai, gusto niya lagi nagsasalita ganiyan. Pero natututo naman na po ako… I mean, nagiging vocal na rin naman ako, tapos talaga focus lang din sa training and… Kasi kung ‘di ka magfo-focus sa training namin kay coach Tai, ikaw rin ‘yung magiging kawawa,” she shared.
“Kasi pahihirapan ka pa niya, lalo kapag hindi ka nag-hundred percent. So talagang nasanay na ‘yung katawan ko, ‘yung isip ko, na ganun na lang gagawin, so hanggang na dadala ko siya sa court.”