Ramil De Jesus would have split his body in two if he could. His De La Salle University Lady Spikers and F2 Logistics Cargo Movers were playing at the same time in venues miles apart – 42.1 kilometers to be exact.
While La Salle improved their UAAP Season 81 record to 5-2 with a decisive win over the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, the Cargo Movers suffered their second loss of the 2019 Philippine Superliga Grand Prix to the PLDT Home Fibr Power Hitters.
The 11-time UAAP champion head coach could barely muster a smile when talking to the media about his predicament. He foresaw that this would be a problem, and the toll of preparing two teams has been a lot, even for someone as accomplished as him.
“Sobrang sabay. Mahirap talaga kasi, ‘yung iba akala na maglalaro lang, pero ‘yung preparation ng game. Papaano ka magma-mindset, ‘yung planning. Ngayon, nagkasabay ‘yung laro,” he said, as his longtime assistant coach Noel Orcullo took over for F2 Logistics while he manned the sidelines for La Salle.
“Although nabigyan naman ng magandang game plan, pero iba pa rin ‘yung nandoon ako, mas kilala ko ‘yungnmga players. Siyempre, sa isang team mahirap mawalan ng father-figure sa loob.”
Admittedly, this has been one the toughest tasks De Jesus has had to fulfill in his illustrious two-decade-long coaching career.
“Kasi ever since, sinasabi ko naman sa team managers na kung pwede na ‘wag sana ipagsabay na mag-coach ako pagdating ng UAAP kasi mahirap talaga,” he admitted candidly.
For now, he sees problems that require unique solutions with the undermanned F2 Logistics, who have been playing without injured starting setter Kim Fajardo for the last two weeks. The Cargo Movers have had to adjust to backup playmaker Alex Cabanos calling the shots.
“Sa akin, alam ko naman na hindi naman ganoong kalakas ‘yung team namin compared doon sa ibang teams na bawat rotation kumpleto. Marami kaming kinocover, lalo na ‘yung rotation na nasa harap ‘yung setter namin, medyo maliit,” he shared.
“Siguro, hindi niya pa din kabisado ‘yung mga kasama. Feeling ko ngayon naghanap ‘yung mga players, which is pinakamahirap na bagay kasi hindi ko magawang hatiin ‘yung katawan ko para pumunta doon.”
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