When De La Salle University began its 2023 V-League Collegiate Challenge, its primary goal was to regain the respect opponents had when playing against them.
With a significant 26-28, 25-18, 28-26, 25-21 victory against the University of Santo Tomas to kick off the tournament, the Green Spikers started to regain that respect.
However, the Taft-based squad had an up-and-down season after that win and needed to rebuild their confidence with a remarkable turnaround in the semifinal series against none other than their rival, Ateneo de Manila University. They made a statement by winning the last two matches in straight sets.
"This tournament has been a big boost for us because our team chemistry developed not only during training but, more importantly, during games. During a game, we experience a range of emotions—happiness and frustrations—and you also see how you can connect as a team despite different emotions and attitudes," team captain JM Ronquillo shared.
One thing that worked for the Green Spikers, especially in their last few matches, was communication, as noted by the acting head coach Jose Roque, a sentiment Ronquillo agreed with.
"We are still working on improving our communication on the court, which is a positive thing," the team's top player shared. "At least we're making progress, and we're not regressing in that aspect."
Bringing a title back to Taft would be a significant step in regaining the respect the Green Spikers aim to achieve.
"We really want to show that La Salle has a strong volleyball program overall, not just on the women's side," Ronquillo emphasized.
"Winning that championship is crucial for us. We used to be underestimated by other teams. They viewed La Salle as an aggressive team that wouldn't ultimately win. We just want to change that culture, and it's been a while since things looked up for us. I hope we can bring that back," Ronquillo concluded.