BEFORE Jerico Jose and Mary Dominique Pacres rose to prominence as UST top volleyball players, they had to earn their spot as members of Team B.
But that did not stop them from rising to the occasion.
Jose, in his sophomore year in college, was already part of the Team A during the time the Tiger Spikers were mentored by Emil Lontoc. However, with current tactician Odjie Mamon taking the coaching reins, the new coaching staff sought a massive overhaul.
“It was my third playing year when the battle for the roster spots became tight since the beach volleyball players were also included in the selection. A week before UAAP, I knew I was a part of the 14-man lineup, then after the announcement, I was removed,” Jose told the Varsitarian.
The following year, Jose still failed to make it to the final roster and at that point, he said it felt like a “slap in the face” that he was not able to show his wares in the UAAP despite being in his fourth year.
As a member of the Team B, Jose served as a mentor and practice player for his younger teammates who had the same optimism he had during his early playing years.
In his fifth year in UST, Jose finally got the chance to play. This Season 79, he is averaging 10.5 points as of press time and is one of Mamon’s go-to guys, even dropping a career-high 22 points in UST’s win against University of the Philippines last Mar. 25.
“Do not stop pushing yourself. Every year, do not waste the chance UST gave you because once you do not give your best even in just one training, the opportunity given to you will be wasted and in the end, you will regret everything” the fourth-year marketing management student said.
Almost the same story goes for Pacres who is recently making a huge impact for the Tigresses.
Once listed in the Team A in her rookie year, Pacres, fondly called as Dimdim or Boom by volleyball fans, was also removed from the main pool after not making much noise.
“[When] I was with the Team B, it was actually more tiring doing nothing than doing something,” Pacres said. “I worked hard to polish my game since I knew that I am still not at my best form.”
This year, Pacres made the Team A anew but was a non-factor early in the season as the Tigresses lost three of their first four games. The team was at the tail end of the first round when Pacres showed why she belonged in the big leagues.
The open spiker dropped 11 and 12 points in UST’s back-to-back victories against powerhouses National University and Far Eastern University, respectively.
The Tigresses, who were stuck at sixth place early in the season, ended the first round at fourth place behind a three-game winning streak and are now a win away from barging into the Final Four for the first time since 2012.
“I am happy with my performance since my game during my high school days seems to be returning this college,” Pacres said. Jan Carlo Anolin and Philip Martin L. Matel