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)

STRENGTHS:
Coach and to be fair, their blocking really improved and in a way, their floor defense
WEAKNESSES:
Winning attitude, No leader, No offense, Setting
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
– None

UST (7th, 2-5)

STRENGTHS:
Blocking has always been the strength of Odjie Mamon’s system. Offense is loaded. You have Lastimosa, Rondina, Laure, Tunay, Meneses, De Leon.
WEAKNESSES:
Leadership, In-game Mentality, Teamwork, Consistency. Setting sometimes and floor defense.
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
Floor defense and offense. They have a lot of good attackers too; Basas, Pons, Palma, Casugod, Simborio.
WEAKNESSES:
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.
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
Strong start. Strong wingers (Paat, Villanueva and Galanza). Of course, their FLOOR DEFENSE has always been their strength. Resiliency.
WEAKNESSES:
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.
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
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.
WEAKNESSES:
Experience. They have it all, just the end game composure of all the players.
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
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.
WEAKNESSES:
Setting. Blocking is shaky. Let’s face it, they don’t have as much offense as compared to the other teams.
OPPORTUNITIES:
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.
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
Ara Galang, Ara Galang and Ara Galang. Coach Ramil. Blocking has always been their strength but serving really improved big time. Good bench players.
WEAKNESSES:
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.
OPPORTUNITIES:
They can use this 2nd round to improve their weaknesses and they can involve more players in their offense
THREATS:
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)

STRENGTHS:
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.
WEAKNESSES:
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.
OPPORTUNITIES:
Lessen their errors, raise the level of play in the 2nd round
THREATS:
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!

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

MY TOP MEN’S VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS FOR 2014

1. Ran Abdilla (PLDT) – Amazing talent. Prolly the best men’s player in the country.

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2. Marck Espejo (Ateneo) – Rookie-MVP and still rockin it in 77. Great talent despite the young age.

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3. Howard Mojica (EAC/Cignal) – Amazing, Smart and Powerful

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4. Mark Alfafara (UST) – Prolific Scorer and never say die attitude

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5. Michael Sudaria (Adamson) – Small but terrible

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6. Ish Polvorosa (Ateneo) – Talented setter. Smart, fast and a great leader.

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7. JP Pareja (Ateneo) – Great leadership aside from his commendable talent in floor defense

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8. Peter Torres (NU) – Deadly running attack and has very good blocking

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9. Raymark Woo (La Salle) – Silent Assasin

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10. Vince Mangulabnan (NU) – Great setter

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11. Myco Antonio (Systema) – One of the most powerful lefties in the country

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12. Rence Melgar (Adamson) – Has great floor defense and a libero-leader too

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Ateneo vs NU Game Analysis (December 1, 2013)

The score won’t tell it but I was actually amazed at the game. The game featured a lot of good spikes and rallies from both teams.

NU improved a lot in floor defense. They were receiving like hell, which I honestly didn’t expect at all honestly. They knew the best way for them to win is to utilize their middles or the Santiago sisters, and the only way to do this is to improve receiving. With decent receiving, you can do almost anything. You can even always set the balls to the middle (as what Ivy has been doing during the game). Believe me, in the coming games, NU will use this strategy to win games. I also had to commend NU’s Ivy Perez who improved a lot. A lot of people have been hard on her, even me at times, but she impressed me today. She was also able to minimize her errors, which is good since before she’d make like roughly 3-4 per set. Fatima General also had a spectacular game. People said that Jen Reyes is a big loss but this second year player is doing just fine. Her receiving is commendable, making it easier for Perez to set the balls. Well, nothing new with Urdas, Pablo, Santiago and Aganon delivering for NU. Everyone knows how fierce they are. But Jaja Santiago delivered well for NU. She is the future of Philippine volleyball. Her spiking reminds me so much of Thaisa Menezes of Brasil. Jaja has 5 more years. It would be fun to see her grow, improve her blocking and develop a running attack. Experience also prevailed for NU. They knew Ateneo had rookies so most of the time, they would serve and spike the ball at rookies like Gopico, Morente and Gequillana which is not bad at all because that’s how the game should be played; As much as possible take advantage of the weaknesses of the opponent. Job well done for NU.

Ateneo actually had a fair game. It wasn’t their best, but it wasn’t their worst too. They just had a lot of errors but you can see that they’ve got skills. Valdez was unexpectedly in her element today but provided some spunk and points. Morente, Gequillana and Gopico showed skills. Morente had very good court sense, reminds me so much of Angela Benting. Gequillana reminds me of a young Fille Cainglet. Gopico has very good quicks but, the problem is, since the team didn’t have much receiving, she didn’t have much sets. But you can see that she has the power and blocking. Among all the rookies, Julia Morado proved to be steady. She is just so good. Her setting reminds me of Rhea Dimaculangan or Jem Ferrer. She’s a rookie to watch out in the coming games. Also steady a while ago was Amy Ahomiro. She had good blocking and good serving. It’s sad that she was replaced right away since along with Alyssa, she has been producing quality points for the team. If you’re a diehard Ateneo fan, you don’t need to be sad. Sure they had a lot of errors, 27 to be exact, but the team showed a lot of potential. It will be fun to see this team in the coming games especially if they improve their communication, teamwork and confidence. You know that these girls have skills, it’s just a matter of getting enough confidence and removing the nerves in the games.

It was a fun game to watch. Both sides had their own sets of good hitters but championship experience and maturity won it for NU. Congrats to NU! Good game Ateneo!

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.

UAAP Women’s Volleyball full 1st round schedule

Just got this schedule from my good friend and this year’s team captain of the Ateneo Lady Eagles Dzi Gervacio (of course with her permission)! Thank You Dzi and Good Luck!

Like I said, it’s gonna be one hell of an opening weekend! Might just be the best opening weekend in UAAP Volleyball in so many years I have been watching. All games could go up to 5 sets!

Good Luck to all teams and have a good season!

Thoughts on TV5’s Premier Volleyball League (Pro League for Women’s Volleyball)

So the latest buzz  in volleyball community is the intention of TV5 to actually have a professional volleyball league for women’s volleyball players. A lot of people are excited about this because we can see the legendary players of different UAAP, NCAA and WNCAA teams playing again. Some rivalries will be renewed but most likely, majority of the players will play with players from other teams. I highly doubt that one corporate team will be school-based. Of course, as much as possible, these teams want to get the best players they can get so the line-ups will be mixed for sure. It will also be fun to see them play together, especially the players of UST and FEU, Ateneo and La Salle and many other players who are involved in a rivalry.

I also like the intention of TV5 that they will not compete against Shakey’s. I guess it’s enough for Shakey’s to continue on what they do best; host the collegiate games with guest players, and maybe leave all the professional duties to TV5’s Premier Volleyball League. After all, they became famous because of these collegiate teams. I say just let Shakey’s continue in nurturing and improving these players through these leagues so that in their own mother leagues or just through playing random games, they will still showcase amazing volleyball skills. Shakey’s has done enough already in promoting volleyball and we are all so grateful for that. Because of them, the NCAA and UAAP volleyball games are now televised and they are played in bigger venues. So yes, without Shakey’s, let’s face it, volleyball would still be nothing in the Philippines. It has been a one-man team for Shakey’s and I guess, it’s time for the other entities to step up and contribute in this stage to promote volleyball even more.

Having a professional league is a very good move especially for Philippine Volleyball. This move will not only make volleyball even more popular but it will also help boost the quality of the games and talent here in the country. I think Philippines is lagging in terms of skills because of the fact that after the UAAP, NCAA or WNCAA, we don’t have any more leagues that these “legendary” players can play in. Sure there is an Open Conference in the V-League or other minor leagues, but these leagues are only short-time leagues which is why the skills don’t get developed. Instead of having constant training, and also getting more exposure through the games or maybe even through foreign coaches and players, we are just limited to a 3-month league.

Of course, these things result to the players not being in shape in time for certain tournaments. I remember Suzanne Roces’s case in her guest player stint with Ateneo last summer; she wasn’t in condition because she rested for like months since her last tournament was last September 2011, which is why she had a hard time playing and keeping up with the Ateneo Lady Eagles. It was only in Sandugo that she was able to regain her old form and body back. From this, we can already say that we really need a pro league, one where there would be a lot of conferences to play in. With constant exposure and training and support from different teams, our players will be able to enhance their skills and play on a higher level.

Aside from these, I really think having a professional league will contribute in having a very competitive National Team. This is what the Turks did before in their Aroma Turkish Leagues; they hired a couple of foreign coaches and players to play in their league and in return, they were able to learn from them in terms of skills, training and many other things. Needless to say, it was a mutual sort of thing. Of course, these foreign players and coaches contributed well in helping Turkey in their program, but Turkey also helped them financially by paying a good amount of money. I guess we can all start from here and mirror their program to ours. After all, Turkey was not in the volleyball scene before and just recently, they having been reaping their efforts by winning 3rd place in the FIVB World Grand Prix. The progress is not that fast. It was a slow thing and they had to take several steps before they accomplished this. It took approximately 5 years for them to achieve this. Of course, it involves a lot of money, and that’s where the sponsors here in the Philippines can come in!

Hopefully, with MVP’s support and all the other sports aficionados who are rich, maybe we can also tap foreign coaches and players to replicate what Turkey has done. Of course, these things do not only pertain to the foreigners but also the local players who should have very good compensation to be motivated to play and to choose to play volleyball after graduating instead of the usual work. For the players to get motivated, I say make them earn like 50,000 pesos a month. That is enough I guess considering that the PBA companies pay their players roughly around 200,000 pesos a month. So compared to that, this is still a cheap investment. It just really needs the passion and willingness of these people to support the sport. If we follow these, then we can see a much improved volleyball for the Philippines. With proper exposure, it will also motivate the kids, especially the girls, to play volleyball and to hone their skills as early as 7 or 8.

It’s really nice to see people working together for Philippine volleyball. I can’t wait for this and I am so excited about it. I really hope it will be successful! It’s really time to put volleyball on the map among Filipinos!