SEA Games 2019: PH men’s hockey team survives Singapore for second win

The Philippine national men’s ice hockey team cruised to their second win of the 30th Southeast Asian Games after surviving Singapore with a 5-3 victory earlier at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink.

Aro Regencia scored back-to-back goals in the final stretch of the third period to close out the game and give the Philippines back-to-back wins in the tournament.

After Singapore capitalized on their power play to score a buzzer beater at the end of the first period, captain Steven Füglister responded right back in the second period to tie the match, 1-all.

The final period saw intense competition, with Füglister scoring another goal before Singapore replied with a goal of their own to even the game, 2-all.

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The Philippines took the lead anew with Sam Bengzon taking charge, but Singapore refused to go away without a fight as they score at the 2:37 mark.

Regencia said enough was enough as he scored a game-winner with 18 seconds left and added an empty net goal to help the host country maintain an undefeated record.

The Philippines looks to extend their winning streak to three games as they face Indonesia at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Alyssa Valdez apologizes for Vietnam loss: “Pasensya na at nagkulang kami”

Despite an ecstatic outlook going to their opening game, the Philippine national women’s volleyball team concluded the day with a painful loss in front of the home crowd.

Admitting her excitement in their 30th Southeast Asian Games women’s volleyball campaign, team mainstay Alyssa Valdez didn’t hide her emotions as she offered an apology after their opening day letdown.

“Pasensya na at nagkulang tayo. Kinulang, kinapos talaga kami sa dulo,” Valdez said.

Valdez and the national team started their title hunt on a bad note after bowing down to Vietnam in five sets, 25-21, 23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 15-8, earlier at the Philsports Arena.

After starting the match with an intense opening set win, the tricolor squad saw stronger hustle from the Vietnamese team with senior open spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy taking charge in the second and third sets for a 1-2 set deficit.

While they took back the fourth set to force a decider, the Nationals eventually ran out of gas as Vietnam waxed hot in the fifth set, leading as much as six points in the final stretch to pull away with the win.

Despite leading the tricolor squad with 22 points, Valdez felt like she could have done more as she really wanted to snatch an opening day victory for the country.

“Personally, I was really looking forward to get the win, but unfortunately we didn’t. Ako, gusto ko pang mag-improve–more than the offense, I really want to help the team on both net and floor defense,” the open spiker said.

Three other players finished in double digits, with Jovelyn Gonzaga and Ces Molina tallying 12 points each, and Majoy Baron with 10 markers.

Falling short in the deciding set, Valdez admitted the Vietnamese team displayed stronger composure and utilized their experience to take the win.

“We had a good fight from the first set to the fourth set, but I guess experience will play a big role in the fifth set, sa dami ng nilaro ng Vietnam for the longest time sa international competitions,” Valdez said.

The open spiker plans to leave their loss behind as they look forward to bounce back in their next game against powerhouses Thailand, who have won eleven straight SEA Games titles.

“One thing we’ve learned today–walang imposible. Sinumang makakalaban namin, kung sino [ang] magbibigay ng buong puso sa laban, iyon siguro ang mananalo,” Valdez said.


SEA Games 2019: PH men’s hockey team grateful for fiery home crowd support

To play on home ice especially in a prestigious event is a rare opportunity, so the Philippine national men’s ice hockey team is not wasting any chances to make their country proud.

In front of an ecstatic home crowd, the Philippine Eagles started their Southeast Asian (SEA) Games title defense campaign on a strong note after overpowering Malaysia, 15-1, yesterday in the ice hockey tournament opener at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink.

The defending SEA Games champions delivered a strong message to the competition, showing no mercy against the Malaysian team as they pulled away early in the first period to skate away with their first win.

Not as prominent as other teams due to their sport’s perceived incompatibility with the country’s tropical climate, the Eagles played an inspired game with the Filipino crowd as their sixth man.

Captain Steven Füglister, who collaborated with defender EJ Sibug to lead the team with three goals each, expressed his gratitude to the home crowd who came out to show full support for the Philippine team.

“Usually we don’t have many people watching us, so it’s crazy to see everyone’s energy. We all appreciate everyone who comes out to watch us, and we hope people keep coming to watch our games,” the captain said.

It was a total team effort for Team Philippines with eight different players recording goals in their landslide win against Malaysia, a far different outcome compared to their narrow 8-7 overtime win back in the 2017 edition of the tournament.

READ — SEA Games 2019: Steven Füglister lauds total team effort in PH’s 15-1 win over Malaysia

Forward Carl Montano, who scored two goals including the opening point for the Eagles, said the team wanted nothing less but perfection after seeing the strong support from the home crowd.

“It’s amazing, playing in front of the Philippines–even in the Challenge Cup three years ago, and this one especially now with a sold-out crowd, it’s like a dream come true,” the forward said.

Both Füglister and Montano lauded their teammates for a total collective effort, noting the team’s consistency as the strongest suit in their title defense campaign.

“We’re running four lines the whole game and all eighteen players are getting ice time, [so] it’s really good for us because we benefit in the long run,” Montano said.

“If our top players are getting tired, it’s not going to be beneficial for our team, so it’s a good thing that all four lines were clicking,” he added.

The Philippine men’s hockey team looks to stage back-to-back wins as they face Singapore tomorrow.

SEA Games 2019: Steven Füglister lauds total team effort in PH’s 15-1 win over Malaysia

Philippine men’s national ice hockey team captain Steven Füglister had nothing but praise for his teammates after starting their back-to-back title bid in the Southeast Asian Games with a statement win.

Focused on their title defense campaign, the Philippine Eagles sent out a fiery message to the competition after a masterful 15-1 victory over Malaysia yesterday in their opening game.

Füglister, who collaborated with defender EJ Sibug to lead the team with three goals each, commended the Eagles for their solid collective effort as eight different players contributed to their opening win.

“This is our strength this year–we have four lines who can all contribute, so we have the confidence to send out any of our players and they’re going to do something out there,” the captain said.

After the opening goal by Carl Montano at the 12:30 mark of the first period, the game eventually turned out to be a one-sided affair as the Philippines clinched three more goals for an early 4-0 lead.

The host team continued to dominate the ice they recorded a 6-1 point run against Malaysia in the second period for a staggering 10-1 cushion.

It was all Team Philippines in the third period as they showed no mercy to their Malaysian opponents, scoring five more goals to snatch their first win in the regional tournament.

Their win over the Malaysian team proved to be a better showing compared to their duel back in the 2017 SEA Games, where the Philippines escaped with a narrow 8-7 overtime win over Malaysia.

While Füglister expressed satisfaction over their dominant performance, the captain said the Eagles need to keep their eyes on the prize as they take the competition one game at a time.

“It’s a relief we had a good start in this tournament, but right now we just have to stay humble and recognize it’s just the first step, the one of many to what our ultimate goal is–which is going to the finals,” Füglister said.

The Philippine men’s ice hockey team looks to continue their dominance in the tournament as they face Singapore tomorrow at the SM Mall of Asia Ice Skating Rink.




SEA Games 2019: PH men’s hockey demolishes Malaysia to open title defense campaign

The Philippine men’s hockey team starts their title defense campaign on a strong note after a resounding victory over Malaysia, 15-1, earlier in the opening day of the 30th Southeast Asian Games ice hockey tournament at the SM Skating Mall of Asia. 

Also called the Philippine Eagles, the men’s hockey team asserted supremacy in their first match, pouncing on their strong first period showing to pull away in the second frame with a staggering 6-1 point-run over Malaysia.

It was all Philippines in the third period as they clinched five straight goals to end the game with a dominant 14-point lead.

Eight players contributed to the Eagles’ landslide win, with team captain Steven Fuglister and defender EJ Sibug leading the team with three goals each.

Defender LR Lancero, together with forwards BJ Imperial and Carl Montano, scored two goals each, with the latter scoring the first goal for the Philippines at the 12:30 mark in the first period.

Meanwhile, Steven So Tiong, Carlo Tenedero, and Richmond Yu recorded one goal each for the host country.

The Philippine men’s hockey team looks to stage back-to-back wins as they face Singapore on Tuesday.

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SEA Games 2019: Dexler Bolambao claims arnis title, 10th gold for PH

The Philippines maintains their dominance in the 30th Southeast Asian Games as Dexler Bolambao clinched the host country’s first gold medal finish in arnis.

Bolambao emerged victorious in the men’s bantamweight full contact final, beating Paing Soe of Myanmar via unanimous decision to give the Philippines its tenth gold medal of the regional tournament.

The host country currently leads the medal tally with 15 podium finishes, including 10 gold medals, three silver medals, and two bronze finishes.


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Agatha Wong defends SEA Games wushu crown, secures 2nd gold for PH

Agatha Wong reigned supreme over the wushu tournament anew as she defended her title in the women’s taijiquan event in the 30th Southeast Asian Games earlier at the World Trade Center.

Wong, 2017 SEA Games gold medalist, earned a score of 9.67 to dominate the said event and give the Philippines its second gold of the regional tournament.

She was as strong as she was two years ago, as she registered a near-identical score of 9.66 in Kuala Lumpur.

Brunei’s Basma Lachkar recorded 9.55 points to finish in second place, while Vietnam’s Thi Minh Huyen Tran tallied 9.53 for the bronze medal finish.

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PH spikers get mixed results in SEA Games beach volleyball opener

The Philippine national beach volleyball teams saw contrasting results in the opening day of the 30th Southeast Asian Games beach volleyball tournament held earlier in Subic, Zambales.

The men’s beach volleyball pairs emerged victorious in their games against Timor-Leste earlier, while the women’s teams bowed down to Indonesia to start their campaign.

The duo of Jude Garcia and Edmar Bonono took the first win for the Philippine team with a sweep over Timor-Leste, 21-16, 21-13.

Pouncing on the momentum, the second pairing of Jaron Requinton and James Buytrago also scooped up an easy victory over Timor-Leste, 21-7, 21-16.

However, the dynamic duo of Sisi Rondina and Bernadeth Pons fell short earlier as they succumbed to Indonesia in three sets, 18-21, 21-16, 13-15.

Likewise, the second Philippine tandem of Dzi Gervacio and Dij Rodriguez also submitted to Indonesia in straight sets, 14-21, 16-21.

The men’s teams look to continue their dominance against Malaysia this Sunday, while the women’s squads hope to bounce back against Vietnam on the same day.

Kat Tolentino returns for one last flight with Ateneo

Kat Tolentino signs back on for one last flight with the Katipunan squad.

The 6-foot-2 opposite spiker formally announced her return to the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in the upcoming UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament.

Tolentino proved instrumental in Ateneo’s title run last season, teaming up with former Lady Eagles Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon to claim the championship against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.

In a post-season speech, Tolentino initially said she was not coming back for the Lady Eagles despite having one playing year left, prompting fans to go on social media and ask her to return.

READ — Kat Tolentino signs off from Lady Eagles, fans cry #OneMoreYearKat

However, she finally decided to use her final playing year with the defending UAAP women’s volleyball champions, in a video posted by ABS-CBN Sports.

Tolentino’s return will bolster Ateneo’s chances of a back-to-back feat in the collegiate ranks, playing alongside Ponggay Gaston, Jules Samonte, and Dani Ravena.

Southeast Asian volleybelles every Filipino fans should watch out for this SEA Games

The day of reckoning is upon the Philippine national women’s volleyball team with their 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games schedule just around the corner.

Coming off a relatively successful campaign in the 2019 ASEAN Grand Prix, the tricolor squad looks to conclude the season in glory as they seek to end their podium finish drought in the biennial meet since 2005.

Headlining the squad are mainstays Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado, Aby Marano, Mylene Paat, and Dawn Macandili, who will try to clinch the country’s first gold medal finish since 1993.

However, their title campaign will be met with intense competition, as three other equally strong teams–Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand–are vying for the regional tournament crown.

With the women’s volleyball tournament on the precipice, Fox Sports PH lists down key players per country to watch out for.

Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi (Indonesia)

The strength of Indonesia’s women’s volleyball team is centered around their reliable wing spikers who serve as their main scorers. One of them is Megawati Hangestri Pertiwi, who turned out to be a problem for the Philippines in their most recent meeting.

The 6-foot-1 opposite hitter led Indonesia in their win against the Philippines in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix with 26 points. With her steady showing all throughout the tournament, she received the Best Opposite Spiker award.

Megawati’s performance all throughout the tournament proved deadly for the tricolor squad, with her frontline kills just as good as her backrow attacks. Blocking would be crucial for the Philippines if they want to stop Indonesia from taking another trip to the finals.

Ratri Wulandari (Indonesia)

With power spiker Aprilia Manganang possibly missing action in Indonesia’s SEA Games campaign, it is imperative for the other open hitters to step up and provide the much-needed scoring for the team.

One of the players expected to rise up to the challenge is open spiker Ratri Wulandari, another steady scorer for Indonesia in the ASEAN Grand Prix. The Philippines also had a hard time with the 5-foot-10 spiker, who scored 12 points atop a triple-double performance to help Megawati in their win over the tricolor squad in the second leg.

The youngest player in the team at 17 years old, Ratri has proven to be the future for Indonesia with her all-around game. The 2017 SEA Games silver medalists will need more from the young open spiker as they look for their first gold medal finish since 1983.

Tran Thị Thanh Thúy (Vietnam)

With Vietnam missing their reliable middle blockers back in the 2017 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship, the pressure is greater for the current team to find new steady scorers.

However, their main star, Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, is still with Vietnam as she seeks to lead her squad to their first gold medal finish in the SEA Games. While she missed the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix, the 6-foot-4 open spiker has been Vietnam’s leading scorer for their previous regional and international campaigns.

The Philippine national team is no stranger to Tran Thi Thanh Thuy’s game, having faced the 22-year-old spiker since 20175. Alyssa Valdez also previously teamed up with the Vietnamese spiker for club team Attack Line in the Chinese Taipei Volleyball League.

Pimpichaya Kokram (Thailand)

The volleyball queens of Southeast Asia, Thailand has been at the top of the SEA Games since 1995. With their 11 straight titles in the regional tournament, the Thais have always been the team to beat in the regional meet.

Thailand’s success has been anchored in its long-term program, where the national team is regularly refurbished with younger players teaming up with veterans in their international campaigns. One of those players is Pimpichaya Kokram, a 5-foot-10 opposite spiker who has been a major force for Thailand for the past years.

Kokram led their straight-set onslaught against the Philippines in the second leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix, scoring 11 markers. One of the most reliable attackers for the 11-time SEA Games champions, the opposite spiker establishes her effectivity with Thailand’s trademark low-fast offense.

Onuma Sittirak (Thailand)

No one can talk about Thailand’s regional supremacy without mentioning squad veteran Onuma Sittirak. The 5-foot-9 open spiker is regarded as one of her country’s best women’s volleyball players, having won numerous accolades and titles with Thailand.

A part of the national team since 2006, Sittirak is known for her lethal open kills and heavy service game. She recently received the Most Valuable Player award after leading her squad to a title in the first leg of the ASEAN Grand Prix.

Sittirak is just one of the vital cogs comprising Thailand’s dominance in the biennial meet, with players such as Wilavan Apinyapong and Pleumjit Thinkaow still wreaking havoc for the squad. Both net and floor defense will be crucial for the Philippines if they want to neutralize Thailand’s fast-tempo game and create transition plays.

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PH women’s football team also falls victim to SEA Games’ logistical issues

The ongoing downward spiral of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games has victimized most of the competing football teams, now including the host country’s own contingent.

The Philippine national women’s football team expressed frustration over logistical problems days before the highly-anticipated regional meet.

Hali Long, member of the national omen’s football team, posted on Facebook the team’s situation in their supposed accomodation.

According to Long, the team arrived at the hotel before noon but the rooms weren’t ready. They were also forced to relocate to a function room while they waited to give way to other arriving teams.

“Sad that we’re the host team and this is how we’re being treated. I can’t imagine how other countries must feel,” Long said in her Facebook post.

This comes after reports of other teams also experiencing the same problem, most prominently the Timor-Leste contingent who waited for hours in the airport and was brought to the wrong hotel.

READ — Timor-Leste football team left stranded at airport, taken to wrong hotel by SEA Games 2019 organisers – Report

The Thailand national men’s football team had to cancel one of their training sessions last Saturday due to logistical trouble, while the Myanmar contingent experienced transportation issues.

In addition, Cambodia also received attention after photos of the team sleeping on the floor while waiting for their rooms surfaced online.

READ — Cambodia and Thailand football teams complain about logistical issues at SEA Games 2019

The PHISGOC addressed the issues in a statement released earlier today.

(Photo from Facebook/Hali Long)

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PH men’s hockey team set to defend SEA Games crown in home ice

With their #LiyabSaLamig mantra, the Philippine national men’s hockey team is ready to set fire on home ice as they seek to defend their crown in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Also called the Philippine Eagles, the national men’s hockey team looks to repeat their gold medal finish back in the 2017 edition of the regional meet in Kuala Lumpur.

To hype up for the upcoming competition, the national men’s hockey team launched a support campaign with a promotional video highlighting their fiery passion on the ice rink.

Not as prominent as other national teams due to the sport’s seeming incompatibility with the Philippines’ tropical climate, the men’s hockey team continues to push through despite logistical limitations.

Results have been steady for the Philippine Eagles since being governed by the Federation of Ice Hockey League (FIHL) in 2015. The squad swept the 2017 SEA Games, beating four other competing countries for their first international championship.

The Philippine Eagles are coming off a relatively successful campaign from the 2019 Challenge Cup of Asia, finishing second behind Mongolia to improve their bronze medal finish in the previous edition.

While the men’s hockey team is set to play on home ice, team captain Steven Fuglister said his squad should remain undistracted from their goal of clinching back-to-back gold medals for the country.

“We have the home court advantage this time but this doesn’t mean we can be complacent. We have to bring pride to the Philippines,” Fuglister said.

Ice hockey events will be held at the SM Mall of Asia Skating Rink in Pasay from December 1 to 8. Check out the schedule here:

(Banner photo from @hockeyphilippines, official Instagram account of the national men’s hockey team)

Sacrifices all worth it for NU Pep Squad’s cheerdance dynasty

There’s no easy way in the National University (NU) Pep Squad’s undeniable dominance in the collegiate ranks.

The NU Pep Squad successfully clinched back-to-back titles after besting seven competing teams in the UAAP Season 82 Cheerdance Competition earlier at the Mall of Asia Arena.

READ — NU Pep Squad wins 6th UAAP Cheerdance title in 7 years after besting 2019 edition

With a love letter to the Philippines for their routine, the Sampaloc-based squad placed first anew with 722 points, beating the Michael Jackson-inspired Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad with 706 points.

This is NU’s sixth championship in the last seven years, beginning their dynasty in 2013 and only missing the crown in 2017, when they bowed down to this year’s third-placers Adamson Pep Squad.

NU head coach Ghicka Bernabe commended her squad for coming through despite their struggle preparing for the competition, saying all their sacrifices were ‘worth it’.

“There’s no such thing as an easy journey; for the NU Pep Squad, isang mahirap at exciting na journey [dahil] lahat ng bata, worth it ‘yung pinagpaguran. Marami kaming occasions na na-miss dahil sa training [at] marami kaming sinacrifice na events with our families,” Bernabe said.

After being dethroned in Season 80, the NU Pep Squad came back strong the following year with their winning routine paying homage to Mexico’s ‘Day of the Dead’ tradition.

The head coach praised her squad for another solid performance this year, noting half of the team are composed of rookies and sophomores.

“Ang sabi ko lang sa kanila ay kailangan maging worth it ‘yung mga araw na na-miss niyo with your families, kasi mas masarap umuwi nang champion ka,” Bernabe added.

Meanwhile, team captain Irah Nuncio said he is still in disbelief with their achievement, saying his team strived for perfection in their journey to defend their title.

“One month before, two weeks before, magigising ka na lang bigla sa madaling araw kakaisip ng routine, na parang hindi ka makahinga nang maayos,” Nuncio said.

“Hindi madali ‘yung pinagdaanan ng team namin; dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom, halos bumigay na kami, halos sumuko na kami, nag-doubt kami sa sarili namin kung kaya ba talaga namin ‘to, pero there’s always a chance, basta magtitiwala lang tayo sa nasa itaas,” he ended.

RELATED — Funniest tweets during the #UAAPCDC2019

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Jema Galanza comes out of the shadows

In a lineup filled with volleyball standouts, Jema Galanza had to take the backseat at times and share the limelight with her equally talented counterparts. But she didn’t mind it—for her, being part of a team made for greatness was enough.

Mostly comprised of former UAAP stars, the Creamline Cool Smashers are undeniably built for championships. In their debut season in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) back in 2017, the pink-clad squad already had Alyssa Valdez and Pau Soriano at their offensive core.

A former collegiate star herself, Galanza was not a stranger to the bright lights as she shone with the Adamson University Lady Falcons, playing alongside the likes of Bang Pineda, Mylene Paat, and Joy Dacoron. However, professional volleyball was a whole new ball game–players not only contend with opposing club teams, but also compete for maximum playing time in their own squad.

When the Cool Smashers started their Reinforced Conference campaign that year, Galanza was already part of the lineup. She, however, had to come off the bench since the squad was shored up by the presence of imports Kuttika Kaewpin and Laura Schaudt who play the same position as hers. Galanza was seen doing the opposite spiker chores – not her natural position.

The team went on to clinch third place, falling short of the finals after bowing down to the Balipure Purest Water Defenders in their semifinal skirmish.

Then came decorated playmaker Jia Morado in the following Open Conference, but Galanza played for the Lady Falcons; there, she shone as the team captain and the team’s main offensive option. But when she returned the following year to Creamline, the 5-foot-7 open spiker met intense competition for the starting six.

In 2018, the pink-clad squad acquired Michele Gumabao, Melissa Gohing, and Risa Sato. These three players proved crucial in Creamline’s impending rise—Gumabao and Gohing were teammates in Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors that achieved back-to-back titles in 2016, while Sato was part of the Balipure team who won the 2017 Open Conference.

Galanza had to sit out again for most of the Reinforced Conference that year, with Kaewpin and Schaudt returning for another tour of duty for Creamline – this time as champions.

Then came the 2018 Open Conference, where she finally got the opportunity to play as one of the starting open spikers for the Cool Smashers. The tournament saw what Galanza can bring for the team, evident with her 2nd Best Open Spiker award—just behind Valdez who finished as the 1st Best Open Spiker and the Conference Most Valuable Player (MVP).

When she had to see limited time anew in this year’s Reinforced Conference, curiosity arose—not about her talent, but what she had to do to break away from the shadows of her more senior counterparts. There has been no doubt about what she can bring to the table, but the whole extent of her capabilities had been delayed and concealed by arguably brighter stars.

Galanza has always been a team player, but her time to shine was inevitable. Sometimes, all a player needs is one big break, that one chance to show everyone what they’re made of.

It wasn’t until the recent 2019 Premier Volleyball League Open Conference that she finally unleashed her true potential.

Galanza emerged as Creamline’s best player in the tournament, leading her team with 226 points built on a 14.13 average points per game after the elimination round. She also finished in the top ten of four skill departments—spiking, serving, digging, and receiving—for a complete all-around game.

Hitting various triple-double outings in their undefeated title campaign, the open spiker made a strong case for individual recognition—and she got it. Galanza took one of the Best Open Spiker awards and the highly-coveted Conference MVP plum—the first in her career.

READ — Jema Galanza snags MVP plum to lead 2019 Open Conference awardees

But while she was happy with her efforts being recognized in arguably her best tournament so far, Galanza never pined for the individual accolades and always had her eyes on the prize—the Open Conference crown.

“Para sa akin naman po, sobrang sarap sa pakiramdam kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan ng team at pinaghihirapan ko, may nangyayari. [Pero] mas happy ako pag nag-champion kami,” the open spiker said after their Game One win.

READ — Jema Galanza shrugs off personal milestone: “Mas happy ako pag nag-champion kami”

Their perfect run all the way to the finals culminated in their successful title defense, overpowering the Petro Gazz Angels in their best-of-three title series to take the championship.

Galanza’s tournament-long heroics have been praised by her teammates, with Valdez commending her growth with the Cool Smashers, noting her maturity and reliability, especially in important games.

“Jema really matured from the first time I get to be with her as a teammate. Iba na ‘yung growth niya as a player and as an individual. Napakita niya iyon sa game, na kapag end game, alam mong lalaban na talaga,” the team captain said.

For Galanza, nothing beats the feeling of winning as a team after all the sacrifices they’ve made in their pursuit of dominance.

“Lahat ng pagod namin, worth it. ‘Yung sakripisyo namin sa araw-araw na gumigising kami ng 5 AM—meron pang 4:00 AM—ito ang nangyari sa lahat ng ginawa namin,” she said.

The open spiker also thanked head coach Tai Bundit for training her to be the best player she can be, saying all the hardships were all worth it.

“Last year pa sobra yung pagod ko kay Coach Tai sa training—umiiyak ako sa kanya, sumasakit ang ankle ko lagi sa kanya. lahat ng paghihirap naranasan ko sa kanya. Now nakikita ko na nagi-improve ako, [kaya] sobrang thankful ko kay Coach Tai,” Galanza said.

For a player like Galanza who waited a long time to have her moment in the sun, nothing is sweeter than achieving success not just for herself but for her squad. A testament that hard work and perseverance pay off in the end, Galanza proved in her time that she is her own, not a player in the periphery.

There is no stopping her in reaching greater heights. But for now, she’ll soak in the glory.