Tougher and Happier Tiger Spikers says Mamon
With a relatively younger and smaller line-up, Mamon’s system will focus more on speed rather than height and power.
STANDING FROM PREVIOUS SEASON: 4-10 (7th Place)
KEY LOSSES: Paul Castillo, Jomaru Amagan, Anthony Arbasto, Kris Roy Guzman
KEY RETURNEES: Arnold Bautista, Manuel Medina, Timothy Tajanlangit
KEY ADDITIONS: Lester Kim Sawal, Jerico Jose, Jerald David Tajanlangit
Despite losing seven players in one snap, the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Spikers head coach Odjie Mamon said the line-up is better than last season.
“Mas maganda ang line-up ngayon. Receptive ang mga players kasi nakikinig pa tapos may competition,” Mamon, a former Tiger Spiker, said. “Gusto nila na belong sila sa UAAP.”
The Espana-based spikers feel no pressure but rather excitement for the upcoming UAAP season.
“Masaya ‘yung mga bata. I’m just keeping them happy and healthy,” he said.
After the departure of long time head coach Emil Lontoc, Mamon said that the team was not able to perform well because the system was new to the team and even to UST. Mamon added that UST was using the system since the ‘90s .
Lontoc was the head coach when the school made a historic four peat in the UAAP in 2011, coincidentally the Quadricentennial year of the University.
Lontoc focused on the beach volleyball last season before retiring permanently.
With a relatively younger and smaller line-up, Mamon’s system will focus on more on speed rather than height and power.
Blessing in disguise
Blue-chipped rookie Jomaru Amagan left the team because he was “unhappy” while Kris Roy Guzman and Anthony Arbasto will focus on their respective beach volleyball career.
Former skipper Paul Kirby Castillo, Jason Sarabia and Patrick Balse used their playing years.
However, Mamon emphasized that their leave actually made the new set of players cohesive and united.
“Actually mas naging cohesive ‘yung players kasi nawala sa kanila ‘yung ‘ay superstar ito’ ‘ay senior ito’,” Mamon said.
Mamon shared that the new members, who filled the seven empty slots battled hard to get the position, are very persevered and competitive. The seven new members are five team B player, a walk-in player from College of Rehabilitation Sciences, and a comebacking UAAP player.
“Yung balik UAAP na si Jerico Jose ay isa sa mga inaasahan ko kasi siya yung pinaka-senior. Nawala siya kasi na-cut siya dati sa line-up ng UAAP,” Mamon confirmed.
Good chemistry is the key
Mamon is confident with the team on and off court and has high hopes for the team, who are doing well academic-wise.
He also added that the players have a good chemistry and the training has also been fun, “Maayos yung team ngayon [kasi] wala masyadong trouble. Hopefully, nag-mature na sila.”
Mamon cannot promise the championship or even a slot in the final four but he swears that the team will strive to do their best.
“Ang importante lang ay masaya kami dito pero syempre, lahat naman gusto ng championship,” Mamon ended.
The Tiger Spikers will debut against the defending champions, Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles tomorrow, Feb.. 4, 8 a.m., at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Photo by Joshua Lugti