MANILA, Philippines - Dynasties are slowly being built in the Philippine Superliga.
For Generika-Army coach Rico de Guzman, their supremacy in the 2014 PLDT Home- PSL All-Filipino Conference women’s volleyball tournament is the result of one simple factor common in the military: Teamwork.
“Everybody chipped in for this achievement – from ranking generals down to regular military personnel,” said de Guzman a day after the Lady Troopers crushed bitter rival RC Cola-Air Force, 25-22, 25-16, 25-19, to claim their third straight women’s division title on Saturday of this prestigious inter-club tournament supported by PLDT Home DSL and backed by Mikasa, Asics, Mueller Tapes, Jinling Sports Equipment, LGR, Bench and Healthway Medical.
With the rest of the field putting together a competitive team in a bid to dethrone them, the Lady Troopers started their bid uneasily.
Their lowest point came when everyone else was convinced the Lady Troopers’ women’s dynasty had already crumbled. But they were proven wrong.
Prized setter Tina Salak – the heart and soul of Army’s furious attack – failed to see action to attend military schooling, sending the Lady Troopers to sputter offensively leading to a pair of early setbacks.
Some say they were too old. Others claim that they were no longer invincible. But de Guzman didn’t lose faith.
“Playing without Tina was the biggest challenge for us,” he said. “Her absence threw us off-guard. Suddenly, we didn’t know how abog na sabog ang atake namin. So we really had to do something to recall her.”
De Guzman brought the matter to their team manager, Maj. Gen. Gamaliel Cruz, who wasted no time in requesting for the release of Salak from her schooling duties.
His effort paid a handsome price as Salak immediately brandished her playmaking skills. brilliance, paving the way for the Lady Troopers to rack four straight victories that gave them an outright semifinal berth after the single-round preliminaries.
Air Force did not go home without a crown.
The PLDT-Air Force leaned on its core of national team players as it crushed Cignal, 25-21, 25-21, 25-21, to claim the men’s division championship.