After a challenging end to 2018, F2 Logistics Cargo Movers head coach Ramil De Jesus is headed for a tough start to 2019.
De Jesus saw the Cargo Movers succumb to the Petron Blaze Spikers in the 2018 Chooks to Go-Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference. While F2 Logistics put up a fight in the three-game series, they had to weather injuries to key players to even reach the Finals.
Early in 2019, De Jesus says that his job will be trickier, since he will coach the De La Salle Lady Spikers in UAAP Season 81 and the Cargo Movers in the Grand Prix. Both tournaments are slated right around the same time in February.
“Well ito, first time kong hahawak ng team na kasabay ang UAAP. Hindi ko lang alam kung paano ko hatiin ang sarili ko. Stress doon sa UAAP, stress din dito. So medyo mabigat,” admitted the 11-time UAAP champion and three-time PSL champion head coach.
The Cargo Movers made it to the Finals in the 2018 Grand Prix, but fell short of defending their crown. De Jesus served mostly as a consultant during games, as Arnold Laniog took over the sideline duties.
De Jesus’ Lady Spikers, on the other hand, can make history in Season 81 and win their fourth straight title, which would be the program’s longest title streak.
However, La Salle need to get over losing three of their starters to achieve the elusive fourth title.
“Para sa akin itong season na ito, suntok sa buwan,” De Jesus said of Season 81.
“Kasi maraming injured nga sa team, [at] pangalawa halos hindi pa namin nabubuo yung starter ko eh. Sila (other UAAP teams) puro exposed na. Eh may panahon pa naman para mag-adjust. So aantayin ko lang mabigyan ng clearance yung mga injured na players. Habol na lang kami kung meron kaming maabutan or wala na.”
De Jesus has seen La Salle through more ups than downs the last two decades. When he brought the Lady Spikers to their 19th UAAP Finals, De Jesus had often squeezed all he can out of his lineup, no matter how low their ceiling.
“Malaking bagay yun kasi halos hindi ko nabigyan ng exposure dito sa PSL yung mga senior ko sa UAAP. We’ll see. Yung mga players ko naman, ready naman mag-adjust yan anytime. Lagi ko namang sinasabi sa kanila na pumapasok ng UAAP, hindi naman tayo masyadong ready,” thought De Jesus.
“Kasi three months naman itong tournament. Hindi naman one-week lang ito or one month lang itong tournament. Medyo mahaba. Meron ‘yan nagi-start na peak kaagad, pero sisisid pagdating ng second round. Mas maganda na ‘yung hindi ka masyadong peak sa first round, pagdating naman ng second round, makakahabol ka.”
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