No expectations for Lady Spikers

Riddled with injuries and without its head coach, De La Salle University is tempering expectations when it sees action in the Shakey’s Super League 2022 Collegiate Pre-season Championship.

The Lady Spikers will field the possible core of La Salle’s University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 roster in the season-opening conference set on 24 September at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Assistant coach Noel Orcullo, who will take the coaching cudgels from Ramil de Jesus in this 18-team tournament featuring the country’s leading universities and colleges, admitted that the Lady Spikers won’t be 100 percent healthy when they march into battle.

“Some of our players are still recovering from injuries they sustained from the last UAAP season,” Orcullo said during the SSL press conference over the weekend at the Philippine Sports Commission dining hall inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“So, we can’t really play on the level that is expected of us.”

Aside from the ailing veterans who saw action in the last edition of the UAAP, newcomer Angel Canino is also on the list of recuperating players.

The freshman, who was instrumental in La Salle-Zobel’s UAAP girl’s title in 2018, sprained her right ankle during training.

“Canino is still under recovery although she has been permitted to play by the doctor and PT,” Orcullo said.

De Jesus, meanwhile, will take time off from manning the La Salle bench but will still manage the team’s day-to-day training and management.

The multi-titled mentor has been juggling coaching jobs both for La Salle and professional club F2 Logistics.

“I was tasked by Coach Ramil to handle the team for this tournament,” Orcullo said.

“The coaching style will be different but the system will still be the same.”

La Salle is the last to confirm participation in the tournament that hosts all 10 National Collegiate Athletic Association squads and eight UAAP teams.

Orcullo bared that they were not supposed to join citing injuries but committed at the last minute as they don’t want to miss out on being a part of history as it will be the first time that all NCAA and UAAP schools are playing in a tournament.

“Actually, we were not ready to join at first. But it will be a shame if we are the only team to skip this tournament,” said Orcullo, whose wards will open their campaign on 1 October against UAAP rival Far Eastern University.

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