SWOT Analysis of UAAP Season 77 Women’s Volleyball

So we’re done with the 2nd round. Below are my SWOT analyses for every team in the 1st round of UAAP Women’s Volleyball. Enjoy!

UE (8th, 0-7)

Coach and to be fair, their blocking really improved and in a way, their floor defense
Winning attitude, No leader, No offense, Setting
To be frank, they are out of the competition. I hope they will use this 2nd round to grow, to learn from opponents and to be better for next year. Likewise, the off-season should be a good time for them to get experience, get their selves exposed and to recruit better.
– None

UST (7th, 2-5)

Blocking has always been the strength of Odjie Mamon’s system. Offense is loaded. You have Lastimosa, Rondina, Laure, Tunay, Meneses, De Leon.
Leadership, In-game Mentality, Teamwork, Consistency. Setting sometimes and floor defense.
Use their new found confidence. They still have a chance to make it to the Final Four, they just have to win like 5/7 of their 2nd round games to make it. Based on their 2nd round games, they can match up well, they just can’t match up well.
Of course, there are like 4 other teams in search of a Final Four berth so they need to work double time if they really want to make it. Peaking teams. Ateneo and La Salle.

FEU (6th, 3-4)

Floor defense and offense. They have a lot of good attackers too; Basas, Pons, Palma, Casugod, Simborio.
Consistency, Leadership and In-game mentality. Yeah, consistency. They won against NU, had a close game with La Salle but then they lost to UST in 4 and to Adamson in 3.
Use their floor defense and blocking. Though they are at 6th, they are at par with 3 other teams so they just need to beat the other teams tied with them for them to enter the Final Four.
Peaking teams. If they won’t pick up their game and be consistent, it’s gonna be hard for them to catch up. Ateneo and La Salle.

Adamson (5th, 3-4)

Strong start. Strong wingers (Paat, Villanueva and Galanza). Of course, their FLOOR DEFENSE has always been their strength. Resiliency.
Like the two teams mentioned above, consistency. They had good games before the year ended but when 2015 came in, they lost back to back. I don’t know if they are still in vacation mode but they need to start winning again.
Lucky for them, they are 3-4 and they are tied with 2 other teams so they can still catch up. They have good wingers, so they can use the three to dominate.
Peaking teams and since 5 of them are still in search of a Final Four berth, they need to win most, if not all of their games. Ateneo and La Salle.

UP (4th, 3-4)

Good coach, Low-fast offense, floor defense, blocking, setting. Almost everything really. Offense is loaded as well in Angeli Araneta, Nicole Tiamzon, Yen Ilustre and Vina Alinas.
Experience. They have it all, just the end game composure of all the players.
If they can make it close with the strong teams, who knows, in the 2nd round they can win over them. Let’s see. They need to ride on with momentum and beat the other teams.
Kathy Bersola’s injury. Although they are at #4, it’s not a safe ranking since like I said, there are 5 teams chasing the Final Four berths so they need to double their effort in the 2nd round. Ateneo and La Salle.

NU (3rd, 4-3)

Based on their first two games and the last two games, floor defense. Coach Roger Gorayeb and Jaja Santiago. They have a good coach and a milking cow. Aside from Jaja Santiago, they still have a Myla Pablo and promising new entries in the starting six.
Setting. Blocking is shaky. Let’s face it, they don’t have as much offense as compared to the other teams.
They’re solo 3rd and with a new system (which has been working so far), they can improve their win-loss record and maybe even beat one of the top two teams. Let’s see.
Peaking teams. Teams who almost defeated them in the 1st round. Teams who know how Coach Roger works his magic. Ateneo and La Salle.

La Salle (2nd, 6-1)

Ara Galang, Ara Galang and Ara Galang. Coach Ramil. Blocking has always been their strength but serving really improved big time. Good bench players.
In a way, floor defense and a Marano-like leader. But they’re not as bad as compared to other teams. Predictable offense at times. Setter likes going to the wings.
They can use this 2nd round to improve their weaknesses and they can involve more players in their offense
Pressure to avenge, Pressure to stop a possible winning streak, Peaking teams or teams who are hungry for a Final Four berth. Ateneo.

Ateneo (1st, 7-0)

Almost every skill. Alyssa Valdez. Denden Lazaro. Kiwi Ahomiro, Jia Morado. Bea De Leon. Ella De Jesus. Jho Maraguinot and Mich Morente. Happy, Unity and Heart Strong attitude.
Too much errors every game. Opposite position not as solid although not so much as a weakness. Blocking although not so much too based on their defensive patterns.
Lessen their errors, raise the level of play in the 2nd round
Pressure to maintain their winning streak. Peaking teams. La Salle.

Let’s hope the 2nd round will be even more exciting! Good Luck to all teams!


Best of 2014: My picks for Best International Volleyball Players and Moments


1. Taylor Sander (USA/BYU) – Rookie-MVP in an international scene. Amazing leap and excellent volleyball IQ.


2. Marius Wlazly (Poland) – Led the country for a world championship. Beat that.


3. Ivan Zaytsev (Italy) – Italy’s own workhorse. Can score anywhere.


4. Wallace De Souza (Brazil) – Still good despite the injury (also biased cause he’s my favorite)


5. Ricardo Lucarelli (Brazil) – Most improved player


6. Earvin Ngapeth (France) – Breakout year, definitely


7. Seyed Mousavi (Iran) – 48 blocks in a world tournament. Beat that.


8. Matthew Anderson (USA) – Still an amazing player no matter what and the heart and soul of USA


9. Jenia Grebennikov (France) – Amazing libero! Brought the house down in the World championship!


10. Mir Saeid Marouflakrani (Iran) – Amazing setter! Probably the best in the world right now.


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First Impressions about this year’s UAAP teams


UE seems disorganized but they are definitely playing better compared last year. They have better floor defense and blocking. Must have been jitters but they should avoid committing errors. Wasn’t able to feel Adorador and Alcayde unlike last year. Talent is there, it’s just a matter of communication and teamwork. X-Factors this weekend: Dawis and Baliton


Still rebuilding but they really have a lot of potential. They were really scrappy but offense is lacking. Tiamzon needed support a while ago and others failed to deliver. Setting and floor defense improved. Hopefully, Bersola will have a better game and Araneta will play in the next one. Future looks bright for them. They have a chance of upsetting one of the top teams but let’s see. X-Factors this weekend: Tiamzon and Estranero


Better movement. Blocking has improved a lot. They have better offensive options now especially with the entry of Rondina and Pacres. Floor defense is decent too. Setting is definitely better this year. I think UST has this sort of completeness. If they will play as a team in the coming games, who knows, they might dominate. X-Factors this weekend: Lastimosa and Laure


Great blocking and floor defense! Impressed at the scrappiness of this team. They are also complete in terms of hitting. Only problem this year is their setter. But if Papa manages to be more creative and connect more with her players, FEU can win a lot of games. Love the improvement of Casugod, Palma and Pons! I think they have a strong chance of making the Final Four. X-Factors this weekend: Palma and Casugod


Totally underestimated this team. They still have a fighting chance but they are not as complete as the past years. Offense revolves around Villanueva, Paat and Galanza. Floor defense is still there and blocking improved. They need to involve middles in terms of scoring. Shaky setting also which really made them predictable. X-Factors this weekend: Paat and Galanza


Improved a lot this year. Better floor defense. Everyone’s really diving for the ball. Jaja Santiago is the new leader and she didn’t fail to deliver. Mandapat and Pablo are good supports. General is the most impressive. If they will play better and not be demoralized when they are down, I think they will still beat a lot of teams. They were just unfortunate since they had to face a really strong team in the opening game. X-Factors this weekend: Santiago and General

La Salle

I was surprised at first because La Salle is not as active in the court as before. Blocking is definitely there but floor defense isn’t. Galang needs more support aside from Cruz. Setting is a little slow but can be improved if they receive better. Middles were not utilized so I can’t say if Reyes or Dy improved or not. Cheng improved a lot and will be a good offensive option this season. Let’s see in the coming games how La Salle will play. X-Factors this weekend: Galang and Cruz


Played like a well-oiled machine this weekend. Everyone contributed. Floor defense and mean serving are still there, blocking improved a bit and they have more options now. Middles were not utilized much but setting was super commendable. Surprised with their improvement in Vertical leap and quickness. Amazing combination plays and movement in the court. Teamwork and happy playing were evident. There were less errors too unlike last year or in the past offseason games. If they will continue to play this way, they will dominate. X-Factors this weekend: Valdez, Morado, De Leon, Lazaro and De Jesus

It’s still the opening. A lot of things will definitely happen. These are just first looks. So don’t worry. 🙂

I totally underestimated Adamson.U

A Farewell Letter to the Philippine Volleyball Community

This weekend meant the end of my stay in the Philippines. Medyo matagal na itong planned actually. I think 2012 pa lang, I’ve been telling my friends of my plans to migrate abroad. Natuloy na rin sa wakas. It has always been my dream to work abroad but I also have family duties here in the Philippines kaya di ko rin maiwanan lahat.

Of course, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who helped me in Philippine Volleyball.

First, I’d like to say thanks to Mr. Ricky Palou, Mr. Sherwin Malonzo and Mr. Arthur Lim. You guys have taught me a lot. Thanks for giving me a lot of opportunities too. You guys know what I mean. Thank you talaga. Please do continue in promoting volleyball. It’s a good sport with an overwhelming and warm community. You guys are making this sport so big. Again, thank you.

Sa aking short writing career, sobrang nagtathank you ako kay Sir Josiah Albelda for giving me opportunities to write both in Matchpoint and Rappler. Super thanks. Dami ko natutunan and malaki utang na loob ko sa iyo. Bond na lang ulit tayo when I get back from the States. Haha.

I’d like to also thank Mr. Tats Suzara, Ms. Anna Tomas, Mr. Ginio Panganiban, Ms. Kyle Principe and everyone who have been friends and gave me the opportunity to participate in Philippine volleyball activities like the forming of the Bomberinas, the Superliga and everything. Sobrang salamat po talaga sa inyo. Sana po wag kayong magsawang sumuporta sa Philippine volleyball.

I’ve developed a lot of friends in this sport. There were some clashes too but you guys were all memorable. Thanks for the bonding, the entertaining dinners, the side by side cheering and at times, jeering and the memories you have shared with me. Dahil sa dami niyo, I won’t mention you guys ng isa-isa. Alam niyo na kung sino kayo. Both past and present. Thanks for always being there sa side ko.

Thanks din sa mga kahit hindi ko pa namemeet kasi asa province sila, asa ibang bansa sila or nahihiya sila magpakilala, na you guys trusted me and natiis niyo yung pagiging passionate ko and pagiging super outspoken ko. Salamat sa lahat.

For my dear Ateneo Lady Eagles and Blue Spikers, championships come to those who wait. You might not have won the UAAP yet, but you will someday. I will always support and believe in you guys. I always include you guys in your prayers. For both the past and present Lady Eagles and Blue Spikers, thank you so much for the memorable chats, beautiful conversations and the inspiring messages you have shared with me. I won’t mention you guys na, alam niyo na kung sino kayo. Thank you also for being so kind to me despite minsan sa pangungulit and sa pagiging overly passionate. You guys will always have a place in my heart. Sobra. I’ve never been a picture person but rest assured those memories are even better than pictures. Kunin niyo na yan this year. Baka umuwi ako. Haha. Let’s see.

I may have a favorite team in both divisions but I always had my own share of favorite players from other teams too. These include Carmela Tunay, Cha Cruz, Jessey de Leon, Maica Morada, Rose Vargas, Illa Santos, Jovy Gonzaga, Ara Galang, UP girls (almost everyone of them) and so much more pa. Of course, the girls I really loved the most, the Santiago sisters. Sobrang bait niyo sa akin and I can’t thank you enough. Sa lahat po sa inyo, thank you for being inspirations to my life. I will always treasure you guys. Hope you can continue setting examples to the rest of Philippine volleyball. Magsilbi sana kayong halimbawa hindi lang sa paglalaro kung hindi sa inyong mga pagkatao na rin.

Some people call me a leader. But no I am not. I’ve always been a follower. Kaya sa mga iba dyan na nagaask kung may papalit ba sa akin as leader ng ibang Facebook groups ganyan. Thanks kung leader nga ang tingin niyo sa akin. But yes, marami diyan who can lead you guys and can set a better example. UAAP Season na so let’s see kung sino mag iinitiate ng mga leadership roles diyan. Hindi ako indespensable. May pagkukulang din ako. Let the new ones take over and I’m sure makakahanap din kayo. Good Luck guys.

Sa mga fans of different teams and players, continue supporting your favorite players and teams. Lumaki ang volleyball with your support. Kayo ang reason why the sport became so big like this. Ipagpatuloy niyo lang yan. But know your limits and boundaries too. Just spread the love and just be passionate about what you are doing. Kung ayaw man ng parents, laging ikatwiran na, at least hindi ka nagsisigarilyo or nagdudrugs. Joke lang po. But seriously, continue making volleyball big. The sport needs you!

It’s sad that I won’t be able to see Philippine volleyball progress. Sayang kasi the sport is growing pa naman. But when I get back, I hope most of the games will be in MOA Arena, Araneta or any other future big stadiums. Of course, even without me in the country, I’d be supporting Philippine Volleyball pa rin of course.

Thank you Philippine Volleyball community

See you again soon!

God Bless you guys!

Pagpray ko kayo lahat! 🙂

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 🙂

My first year as an Atenean (Prep-Malinis, 1996)

So I don’t know why I am blogging this but I just feel like sharing it for some unknown reason. Haha.

Anyway, so seventeen years ago, I can still remember my first day in Ateneo. Well actually, the first day of school wasn’t so hard to remember. Although we are all boys, there was a lot of crying and pulling pants. Haha. Until now, I can still remember the batchmates who cried during that first day. I still laugh at that moment, not because of the crying but because of how I remembered ourselves that time; Our first moment in Ateneo. Some classmates would be dragged from the car to the classrooms. The classroom would be filled with parents and they were all outside looking at us. Haha. I even saw Loren Legarda looking at one point. She was back then a parent of my classmate Lanz Leviste and she was still a newscaster.

So I had this lovable teacher, Mrs. Rose Garcia. At first, I kind of didn’t like her. She was old and had a soft voice. I was kind of scolded in the first day right away. You see, I have this kind of issue about being bored. Whenever I am bored, I do like a lot of stuff; I move a lot, talk to everyone, do a lot of annoying things. Yes, I am “makulit”. Haha. Even up to now, when I get bored, I do those things. Promise. So anyway, I got scolded in my first day. I didn’t cry. I still continued doing what I was doing. But the teacher asked me to stand at the back. I was kinda ignoring her and thinking about Power Rangers. But then, as time went on, I appreciated her more. Turns out, the first few weeks, she was having a sore throat, hence the soft-spoken voice.

I wasn’t a perfect student. In my first few years in the Philippines especially during my Prep days, I was having a hard time adjusting to the Filipino language. I grew up in the States and in my first two year in Miriam College, Child Study Center, my Nursery and Kindergarten didn’t have a Filipino subject. So in my first few weeks in Ateneo, I was having a hard time in the FIlipino subject. I remember back then, I failed my Filipino in the first quarter. I had a grade of 73, which was a failing grade. So come 2nd quarter, my mom was like at the school everyday talking to my mom and checking on my progress. Luckily, Mrs. Garcia was really there to check on my like everyday. I remember back then, since like a couple of us were having a hard time in Filipino, she would generally hold like a remedial class after dismissal. It will be just a short one like 20-30 minutes. I kinda hated it because instead of going home right away, finishing homework and doing my Playstation, I would like extend a couple of minutes. That was kind of the time I was able to got close to her. She made the remedial subject fun and we were like joking a lot after class. She’d even give us treats at times like custard cake, candies and other things. She turned out to be a fun teacher. I must say that she is the reason of maybe I survived my first year in Ateneo. During our last day in Prep, all of us were like so sad and hugging her and she was like so teary-eyed. She said that our class became so close to her. We bonded like a lot (of course with the help of parents). But she was just that teacher who would really check on us even during recess time and after class. She was so “maasikaso” and accomodating. Man, in our Grade 1 (well cause I had the same group of classmates until Grade 2), it was so hard to adjust especially since our class adviser was a lot strict and kind of cold. Well, more of her and Grade 1 days in another blog.

The first terror teacher I had was Ms. Eva Fetalino or Mrs. Perez. Man, she was hot back then but very strict. When she first stepped into our class, we were all terrified. We were like so quiet. She had this well-modulated and loud voice that it would be hard to butt in what she is saying. Haha. So whenever it is Reading or Language time, I’m behaved. But she became nicer when during our performance time (I forgot what was that called) of “One Step at a Time”, she was technically our coach. Basically it is a song and we had to like make some moves and other things. So it was at those times when she was not really strict. She’d like laugh and stuff and eventually, she also became nicer in our classes.

I was kind of a hyper kid back in my Prep days. I was greeting like everyone. Like I always say hello to teachers, parents, classmates and even people from different sections. I remember myself getting gifts from parents of other classmates for being so friendly to them and their sons. Haha. At that time, I did not know why I was getting gifts but what the hell. The playground is my territory and during breaks, you would always see my there. There were times I would not eat my baon just to play. Haha. It was for this reason that I was able to gain a lot of friends. I was invited to a lot of 7th birthdays and I was really amazed at how rich my classmates were. They had like super big houses and a lot of cars. I kind of had an inferiority complex when it was my turn to host a 7th birthday. I thought of not inviting everyone, just like the close ones because of the fear of rejection and also of course, since I am not that rich as compared to my other classmates. Haha. But then, eventually, when my mom asked me to give the invitations, I woke up early and came to class like around 5 am (7:15 am was the call time). That time, the classrooms were still closed. Haha. But when it got opened by the janitor, I immediately put the invitations in the drawers of my classmates. Haha. I was surprised at the response and everyone kept on asking me details. But the not-so-rich kid that I am, I told them to lower their expectations. Haha. But then, I remember my pal Junjun Dinorog said that it doesn’t really matter as long as there will be a clown, games and prizes. So I was kind of happy with that. Haha. Even more during my 7th when most of my classmates and my two teachers Mrs. Garcia and Ms. Fetalino came to my party. I had one of the most awesome birthday parties ever.

It was also during these times that there would be like a lot of sleep-over and parent-child activities. I’d normally go to a lot of sleep-overs. There were no fears back then since we were all boys (if we had girls, it’s a different thing) but it was so hard to be quiet at the houses of my classmates. Like we would play a lot and run around. Basta like what children do these days. Haha.

I must say, I had a fun and awesome time in my first year at The Ateneo. Haha. I met a lot of friends who are still my friends today. One close friend I still have until today is Darren Tantoco. He was one of the closest friends I had in my Prep days. Even during our high school days, we’d normally spend time talking and doing crazy stuff. Our parents are kind of close as well. Until now, we talk like a lot. But aside from making friends, the year saw me doing a lot of adjustments and going through some hardships (academically) but it was really fun. It was the beginning of a new life, or the beginning of my 12 year stay in Ateneo. Oh, memories.

Impact Rookies of UAAP Season 76

So here we are again in the mysterious part of every UAAP Season; the guessing game as to how teams will perform in one season. Like I said, the incoming rookies in the UAAP Season 76 might just probably be the most talented batch in history. However, of course, they will still be tested when the real games begin. Some recruits indeed perform well in high school but mess up or adjusts longer than the others in college. Of course in the UAAP, composure and experience are really big factors. A rookie is still a rookie.

The impact players I’m going to post are derived from observations as to how they play in high school. Haha. I know I know. Some might call it hype or something but like I said I also see the potential in everyone that’s why I don’t consider anyone hype. They won’t be recruited if coaches never saw the potential in them to be developed or to be a good player. But definitely, this rookie batch is really worth something. This batch can even form two teams in the UAAP and still be competitive.


The list doesn’t necessarily mean that these players are not good. I put them here because I think the team they are joining in still has very good and experienced players or are still loaded in those positions. Believe me, these players are really good too.

10. Tricia Santos (UST) – 5’8 outside hitter

With the improvement of Pam Lastimosa, Mela Tunay and Gi Reyes, Tricia Santos really has to earn that spot. The talent is there because I have seen her play before in Angelicum. She will definitely be a star for UST someday, she just has to wait and be a role player for now because the three mentioned earned enough experience to be competitive for next year.

9. Rizza Amaro (FEU) – 5’6 middle blocker

While Rizza Amaro has the moves and the potential to be good, her height might be a hindrance. But nevertheless, she packs a lot of power and has good service. She reminds me so much of a smaller Marge Tejada. Same power and same service. Also worth mentioning is that she can lead her team well.

8. April Romero (UP) – 5’7 middle blocker

Power quicks and running attacks are what she will bring to the table. This girl plays a lot like the legendary Mhica Morada because she moves and spikes like her. One thing you’d notice when you see her play is that she has a right amount of swag. She does stare downs and trashtalks when needed.

7. Arriane Layug (DLSU) – 5’8 outside hitter

When I saw her play in the Shakey’s V-League and Palarong Pambansa, I knew she’d be recruited by one of the UAAP schools. Arriane plays a lot like Michele Gumabao. She is powerful and at the same time, smart. Blocking and serving are also her assets. If she will improve her floor defense, she will be one player to watch out for soon. Placed her here because DLSU still has Ara Galang, Des Cheng, Cyd Demecillo and Camille Cruz.

6. Jana Sta. Maria (FEU) – 5’8 middle blocker

Jana has very good movement in the court and has a good contact with the ball. Her big plus is that she can hit both quick and running attacks, which not every middle blocker in high school can do. The downside though is that Jana has to compete with national player Rem Palma and a good rookie Kath Barrinuevo for the spot. But let’s see how she will turn things around.

5. Alyssa Layug (UP) – 6’0 middle blocker

Her height is definitely a big asset. There was this one game in Palaro when she had 11 blocks in the game. That was probably one of the reasons why UP recruited her. If you guys still remember Utaiwan Kaensing, she plays exactly like her. With a good coach like Jerry Yee, let’s hope she will be turned into a middle monster someday. I put her here because UP will have loaded middles next year in Lamis El Sayed (if she is playing), Kathy Bersola and Nika Ong.

4. Glenda Agang (DLSU) – 5’7 middle blocker/outside hitter

Glenda caught my attention last January when she went here in Manila for the V-League. She has very good hitting and can see a lot of holes in the opponent’s court. She will be an asset to any team. The floor defense, blocking, serving and even leadership are there. Both the outside and middle positions are still loaded in the DLSU team that’s why I placed her here.

3. Jorelle Singh (NU) – 5’7 outside hitter

Jorelle Singh’s floor defense is really one of her big assets aside from her hitting and serving. She’d wow a lot of people with her power hits but sometimes when impatient with the defense of the opponent, she’d either make an error or get blocked. I put her here because aside from Aiko Urdas, Myla Pablo and Sheshe Dadang, winger Mina Aganon has improved a lot too.

2. Jema Galanza (AdU) – 5’7 outside hitter

What’s funny is that both Galanza and Singh are like twins because they play and look exactly alike. The difference lies now on the defense because Jema is more of a blocker than a floor defender. Jema Galanza is a big asset to Adamson but experienced players like Amanda Villanueva, Mayette Zapanta and Bang Pineda are still there which is why she still has to wait for a year before she can probably start.

1. Kim Dy (DLSU) – 5’10 middle blocker

Gameface/All Business is one thing you would notice when you see Kim Dy on the court. She is always serious and plays oh so well. Her running attacks are also efficient aside from her quick attacks. Blocking is definitely her big asset though. She’s not just tall but she has very good timing as well. I put her here because she has to contend against the like of Aby Marano and Mika Reyes who are both doing well in the middle. But, she might have a chance. I really think she has big potential.

Next pages: 16 players who will make an impact in the UAAP wars