THE USUAL feeling of one who is on the cusp of greatness should be exhilaration, excitement with some nervousness thrown in on the side.
Shockingly, it was not the atmosphere inside the practice facility of the College of St. Benilde (CSB) Lady Blazers on the eve of what could be the defining moment of their lives — a Game Two duel with the Arellano University (AU) Lady Chiefs for the NCAA Season 97 volleyball diadem at the Filoil EcoOil Centre today.
“The team has low morale,” a source yesterday told The STAR.
The same source was referring to some individual awards that didn’t go the CSB players’ way including one that hurts the most — the Best Setter plum that the team felt should have gone to the incredibly efficient and reliable Cloanne Sophia Mondonedo.
It actually started when the squad received the list of the season individual awardees the day before the finals opener.
Of all the CSB players, only skipper Francis Mycah Go will bring home individual trophies — the Most Valuable Player and first Best Outside Spiker.
The other achievers to be honored today are second outside spiker Dolly Grace Versoza of Jose Rizal U, first and second middle blocker Zonxi Dahab of Lyceum of the Philippines U and Mapua’s Alyanna Nicole Ong, best opposite spiker Reyann Cañete of San Sebastian, best libero Alex Cyra Salvaloza of Emilio Aguinaldo College, best setter Venice Puzon of LPU and rookie of the year Katherine Santos of SSC.
“CSB was stats leader in the team in setting and Clo (Mondonedo) was also individual leader. Their relatives are livid about the results, that’s why they were bothered when they played,” said the same source.
In spite of it, the Lady Blazers came out playing bigger than themselves, fought off their inner demons and vented their ire on the poor Lady Chiefs with a merciless 25-21, 25-11, 25-10 destruction Wednesday.
It was a win that sent CSB on the verge of an amazing title sweep and second crown overall after reigning supreme in its breakthrough triumph seven years ago.
AU, in contrast, will desperately muster the last of its remaining strength and willpower, hoping to equalize and send the series into a decider on Sunday for a chance at a four-peat feat.
But CSB should go all out and try to replicate the same fighting form it showed last time when it returns to battle in Game Two set at 2 p.m. and keep an eye on the biggest prize of them all — a dream perfect season. — Joey Villar