BACARRA, ILOCOS NORTE — Despite falling short of their goal, Sta. Lucia head coach Eddieson Orcullo felt mighty proud of the mental toughness that his wards showed throughout the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference bubble.
“‘Yung mga bata, siyempre alam natin ang hirap ng bubble.
“Siguro ‘yung mental toughness, masasabi ko na napanghawakan namin ‘yun. Kasi kita mo naman ‘yung previous games namin, galing kami sa 1-3 tapos naging 5-3, ngayon 5-4. ‘Yung tipong kumapit kami sa kailangan namin ng panalo — makikita mo naman ‘yung bata talagang nagtiyaga,” stressed Orcullo, following Sta. Lucia’s loss to Petro Gazz on Thursday night.
It was a sad end to Sta. Lucia’s campaign, considering that they climbed up from the pits of the standing just to have a fighting chance for the semis race.
The Lady Realtors had a horrendous start to their campaign. They dropped three of their first four matches, which already put them behind in semis contention.
But after inserting Jovie Prado and Djanel Cheng in the starting six — and of course, with the arrival of their beloved team manager Buddy Encarnado— the team climbed up game by game. It then led to a four-game winning streak — putting them back on track for one of the semis berths.
However, the Lady Realtors’ inspired run came to an abrupt end at the hands of Petro Gazz. They fell via a heartbreaking 13-25, 21-25, 22-25 sweep at the PCV Socio-Civic and Cultural Center here.
Orcullo can’t help but rue their defensive mishaps which, for him, ultimately cost them the match and eventually, their entire season.
“Sa amin siguro, siyempre unang-una service receive. Tignan mo naman kanina, medyo sablay talaga ‘yung crucial moment,” shared Orcullo.
“Magtatapon ng service, hahabol ng puntos hindi tayo maka-receive. Siguro kailangan linisin namin maigi, bukod sa service receive, ‘yung block. Kasi sa ibabaw pa lang kung makaka-atake kami sa block, ‘di na namin kailangan dumipensa,” he added.
Still, despite the loss, Orcullo liked what he saw from her Lady Realtors.
And he revealed that he intends to keep the core of Mika Reyes, MJ Phillips, Jonah Sabete, Dell Palomata, Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Prado, and Cheng intact for the following conference.
“Walang gagalaw. Yun pa rin namin. Kailangan linisin lang,” Orcullo said.
“Siguro ganun talaga siguro kailangan bumalik muna kami sa gym para makapagensayo ulit. Yun ang pinaka the best.”
But for now, the team will get their much-deserved rest. Then they vow to come back stronger and smarter in the next PVL conference.
“Ngayon pag uwi kailangan magpahinga muna baka kailangan namin tumawid sa tunay na mundo,” said Orcullo.
“Siyempre sa family namin, kung ano ‘yung normal na buhay natin na nasa bahay tayo… Kasi nasanay tayo na ilang months sa bubble medyo mabigat talaga.”