USJ-R Lady Jaguars sweep their way to Cesafi volleyball crown
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Coming off a painful finals loss in the previous season, newly installed head coach Michael Simbajon tried to apply a different approach on the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) women’s volleyball team.
From the start, he wanted the team to aim for the title.
“Sa pagsugod pa lang, ako na sila gipaset ug goals kada usa nila. Nagmind building nako nila,” said Simbajon, himself a former Jaguar.
(When we first started, I made each of them set a goal. I worked on their mindset.)
The plan worked really well.
The Lady Jaguars, runners up for the past four years, finally climbed to the top of podium following a 26-24, 25-27, 27-25, 20-25, 15-13 win over the Southwestern University (SWU)-Phinma in Game 2 of the best-of-three finals on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at the University of Southern Philippines Foundation gym.
The win capped off a perfect season for the Lady Jaguars.
“Ang resulta, from elimination until now, wa mi pildi. Sweep mi. Perfect season,” said Simbajon.
(The result is we did not lose any game from the eliminations until now. We swept it. Perfect season.)
The Jaguars finished this season with an 11-0 record, including a 2-0 sweep of the Lady Cobras in the Finals.
Simbajon said it was a fitting finish for all the hard work that the volleybelles of USJ-R put in this season.
“Deserve sa mga bata, sa ilang training, tanan nilang paningkamot, tanan nilang sacrifices, at least nahatag sa ila karon, credit sa mga bata and then sa support sa management, sa school,” said Simbajon.
(The players deserved it, from their training, all their effort, all their sacrifices, at least it was given to them now. Credit to them and the support of the management and the school.)
As for Simbajon, this is the first time that he had returned to volleyball after 10 years. It is also his first time as head coach, and fortunately for him, it produced his first title.
“Humble lang gihapon, at least napakita namo kung unsa juy heart as a Jaguar, mao ra jud na siya. Wala sila mo suko, ni continue gihapon ilahang kaisog,” added Simbajon.
(Always humble. At least we’re able to show what the heart of a Jaguar is, that’s really it. They did not give up, they continued to be brave.)
USJ-R’s Daniella Alfeche was named as the finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). She was also honored as the 1st Best Middle Blocker.
Two of Alfeche’s teammates also received special awards—Trisha Mae Ibarra, 1st Best Outside Spiker, and Pamela Sumayang, Best Setter.
Other special awardees were Mary Louise Querubin of the University of San Carlos (USC) as the 2nd Best Outside Spiker, and USPF’s Jan Marie Gayo (Best Libero) and Charisse Sungahid (Best Opposite Hitter). /bmjo
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