Ramil De Jesus runs one of the best sporting programs in the Philippines. Since taking over the De La Salle University Lady Spikers program in 1997, De Jesus has won 10 titles and made 17 appearances in the UAAP Finals.
He’s the best at everything when it comes to coaching, from recruitment, to player development, to game preparation.
It turns out, he’s also been consistently the best volleyball jersey designer. It’s been talked about for a while, but De Jesus himself confirmed to Tiebreaker Times that he does, indeed, have a lot of input in the Lady Spikers’ lauded jerseys.
Coming from a hard-fought second victory in UAAP Season 80 against the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons last Saturday, the usually stern mentor lit up when asked about his forays into jersey design.
“Actually, ako ‘yung pumupunta sa designer. Nagsu-suggest lang ako, pero hindi ako ‘yung buong design,” said De Jesus with a rarely-seen smile.
“Pero ‘yung mga ganiyan, may idea ako pero kino-consult ko pa rin sa designer kung ano ‘yung pwede din then pina-aapprove ko din sa mga players, gusto naman nila.”
De Jesus remembers first designing jerseys during Manilla Santos’ time back in 2002, when the school asked him for input instead of just providing them with pre-made uniforms.
Having studied Architecture before shifting to Business Management during his collegiate days at the Far Eastern University, De Jesus has always had a penchant for design. His knowledge in design is always visible in his artful use of lines on La Salle’s jerseys.
De Jesus appreciates the positive feedback that his designs garner from fans every season. He admits that he does always ask others to design their jerseys, but they end up asking him to do it anyway.
“So minsan nga sinasabi ko sa kanila na sila na mag-design, pero sa akin din binibigay ng mga players,” De Jesus quipped.
The Lady Spikers love that De Jesus takes that much time and care with their look every season. Graduating opposite hitter Kianna Dy, who has been playing for De Jesus since high school, takes it as one of De Jesus’ fatherly gestures.
“Si coach kasi, in a way, he’s a perfectionist. He wants us to look good (laughs). Actually, sinabi niya ‘yun kasi nga gusto niya ‘yung jersey namin laging maganda. Pati ‘yung warmer pinag-iisipan niya talaga,” said the Season 78 Finals Most Valuable Player.
“Nakakatuwa naman na it’s not just volleyball he’s concerned with, but also outside. Like, as I said before, he’s a father-figure talaga. Nakakatuwa talaga siya.”
Senior open hitter Desiree Cheng loves her coach’s artistic side.
“Always ‘yan (nagde-design ng jerseys). Ang saya talaga. As in, hindi naman kami nangengealam kung anong gusto niya, siya lang ‘yung biglang magsasabi na, ‘Eto na ‘yung jersey natin. So gusto niyo ba o hindi? May suggestions ba kayo?’,” mused the Season 79 Finals MVP.
“Ever since naman pag makikita mo ‘yung jerseys, parang halos the same lang. Pero, may ibang concept lang siyang binabago. Ang saya ‘pag coach mo ‘yung nagdedesign. As in, artistic siya. Ang galing niya, promise.”
When asked about their favorite of their coach’s designs, Dy gravitated towards Season 78’s collared masterpiece, while Cheng admitted that the Season 79 jersey will always have a special place in her heart since it was her first championship season.
De Jesus favorite? The sharp UAAP Season 74 look.
“Wala naman. Maganda eh. Malinis din tignan,” De Jesus conceded.
At the end of the day, De Jesus cannot win every UAAP championship. He does, however, make sure that his team always looks the best.