TEAM Dasmariñas didn’t look it stood a chance against a Go for Gold-Air Force side composed mostly of national team standouts.
But the Monarchs—who had only two players with championship experience—simply believed in themselves and emerged as the first-ever Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League kings.
“Most of us have not won a championship. My brother Madz [Gampong] is a champion for National University, while [Ronniel] Rosales had championship experience with Perpetual Help,” said Cian Silang, the tournament’s Best Setter. “That’s why we left everything on the floor. We gave our best to become champions,”
Even Coach Norman Miguel has finally experienced how it takes to become a winner for the Monarchs. Miguel was part of University of Santo Tomas coaching staff under August Santamaria and Shaq delos Santos that won University Athletic Association of the Philippines titles in 2007 and 2010.
“I really prayed hard for our wish to be granted,” Miguel said.
The Monarchs, who went undefeated in five matches including the masterful four-set romp of the Aguilas, prepared for two months for the country’s first men’s volleyball tournament in the pandemic at the Aquamarine Recreational Center in Lipa City.
“Volleyball is such a small world, I have known these players. One good talk and we are ready to go,” said Miguel who formed the team only in early October. “I think it’s all about the trust.”
With a bevy of young players like tournament Most Valuable Player and 1st Best Outside Spiker Mark Calado, and veterans like 1st Best Middle Blocker and team captain Jayvee Sumagaysay, the Monarchs were ready to rule.
“For me, it’s a great opportunity to win this beautiful award [MVP] but for me, it is more beautiful if everyone in the team wins,” said Calado, who topscored for the Monarchs in the semifinals and the final.
“My motivations are my coach and my brothers in the team,” he said. “I was thinking of those sacrifices I did in training, all the hardships. I also included my family and of course God.”
By winning the Champions League, the Monarchs will represent the Philippines in the 2022 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Urmia, Iran, from May 15-22.
“We are excited for that,” said Miguel, as his team will immediately go back to the drawing board next month as they prepare to extend their reign and compete in the continental club tournament.