UST's Kung-Fu Reyes: 'No excuses, laban lang'
MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses are currently in third place in the UAAP women’s volleyball standings with a 5-3 record. For Coach Emilio “Kung-Fu” Reyes’ charges, they have done well in spite of a preseason injury to Tin Francisco and the loss of middle hitter Milena Alessandrini.
The record notwithstanding, UST has been one of the toughest to beat. Outside fifth sets, they have only scored less than 20 points in three sets.
We caught up with Reyes to reflect on the Golden Tigresses’ season thus far, and one of the keys to his team’s good play has been the communication between himself and his players and among themselves.
“Hindi lang naman sila ang natututo sa akin,” downplayed Reyes. “Ako rin natututo sa kanila — sa mga sitwasyon at sa pakikibagay sa tao.”
He admits that he can still get mad at his girls, but he has learned to mix it up. Humor and encouragement will go a long way in getting something out of his girls instead of merely yelling at them. “Mahalaga yung communication off the court,” he disclosed. “Sa practice, I allow them to share their thoughts about yung mga plano namin sa opensa at depensa. Sila rin kasi yung nasa court. Kung maganda naman ang suggestion bakit hindi natin papakinggan? At siyempre, para meron accountability.”
It would be easy to just cruise despite the injuries, but what was crucial in the aftermath of the debilitating loss of Alessandrini to another injury is telling his charges that they should be no excuses.
“Minsan puwede mo gamitin yun as an excuse, but hindi puwede excuse ‘yan all the time. Kasi kung puro ka excuse, eh naghahanap ka ng justification kung bakit ganyan lang pinapakita mo. Alam naman natin, mahirap ang buhay so it is yung attitude mo sa ganyan ang importante at iaangat mo sa mga bata.”
After two straight Cherry Rondina errors allowed Ateneo to take the fifth set, 15-11, for their seventh win in eight matches, Reyes lamented their collapse (they took the first two sets before the Lady Eagles charged back to take the last three). But he was also quick to dismiss it. “We have to learn our lessons and hope makabawi kami,” postulated Reyes. “Dapat ang mindset, ‘next time tayo magtagpo — kami naman.”
Reyes also pointed out to the contributions of his newcomers Eya Laure, Mafe Galanza, Kecelyn Galdones, and Janel Delerio to name a few who have really given UST an edge. “Palaban yung mga bata,” pointed out Reyes. “Kahit si Sisi (Rondina) na hindi kailangan motivation maglaro ay nabuhayan.”
“Ang mga tao ay nagsasabi ng ‘our future is bright,’” closed Reyes. “Hindi namin iniisip yung kasi hindi namin control yun. Ang iniisip namin ay yung ngayon. Laban lang. Tignan natin kung saan tayo aabutin.”
The UST Golden Tigresses return to the court on March 27 against Adamson at the Filoil Flying V Centre.