Coach Jerry Yee still has tricks up his sleeves as he gears up for the upcoming UAAP wars. With thirteen new recruits, the Diliman squad had been busy with off-season tournaments… winning some… and losing a few. But the game plan was simple, to give exposure and experience for the young crew.
Much of the burden of leading the youngsters now falls on the shoulders of its new captain, the sophomore setter Jewel Lai, and the veteran and most senior Lady Maroon, Pia Gaiser. The not so veteran veterans Marian Buitre, Arielle Estranero, Vina Alinas, and Chester Ong were also returning to the fold. However, the Lady Maroons has an (almost) totally new look… again… as half of the team are new faces, fresh out of high school.
It was a again a slow start for the Lady Maroons, dropping the first set against the CSB Lady Blazers. But recovered in time to finish the game in four sets. The victory against the College of Saint Benilde was their first after a stringing losses against Ateneo, FEU and UST when it entered the quarter final round. The Lady Maroons were out of the running for a final four spot but each game mattered to the it spelled a difference in the development of the team.
But despite the setbacks, the rookies of Diliman had gained quite a following. Fans had been talking about them even before Season 77 was over. It wasn’t hard to understand why there was so much buzz about UP’s new acquisitions when you see them play live. They were fearless and had fire in their eyes. They had skills that matched their attitude. Though they seem to have that calm and collected, no nonsense demeanor most of the Lady Maroons have.
Season 77 had the Diliman Trio in Tiamzon, Araneta and Bersola. Though UP’s rendezvous with destiny was cut short with the season ending injury of Bersola, the team was no longer a doormat in the league.
Will Season 78 see the coming of Diliman’s (Fantastic) Four? Much have been said and written about Isa Molde, Diana Mae Carlos, Maristela Layug and Justine Dorog in the forums and social media. Is it just hype? Or will they be the next stars for UP and the league?
I’m not an expert of the game or any sport for that matter and I am not technically adept to dissect and analyze their skills. I just love watching the games because it gives me chance to practice sports photography… but what’s there not to like about these rookies? I’d like to keep my expectations modest like most UP fans but it’s hard not to be excited and be overly eager with the prospect of a healthy Tiamzon and Bersola coming back to the line-up with these youngsters.
People just love the underdogs… especially when they learn to fight back. That’s a making of a good story. But when they overcome the odds and win… then it becomes a fairy tale.