A larger crowd combined with powerhouse contenders from University Athletic Association of the Philippines and National Collegiate Athletic Association challenged this year’s set of Lady Patriots, as they battled for the second time at the Shakey’s V-League platform. Switching from the provincials to a televised league may have affected the early performances of the team in the preliminaries but still, some of the Lady Patriots shined individually as they marked their own spots in the skill set rankings at the end of the eliminations and the quarterfinals round.
Leading the Lady Patriots for two years, team captain Iumi Yongco was stellar in their V-League campaign after ranking seventh as best digger and best receiver. Yongco conquered roadblocks throughout their journey as she showcased outstanding performances that lead the Lady Patriots enter the playoffs. The AB Communication major spiker certainly to have the persistence and charm that lead the Patriots on a high note before ending their V-League journey.
Raised by spiker parents, Yongco was exposed early to the world of volleyball with her sister and former-Lady Patriot-turned-Lady Air Spiker), Iari Yongco. Yongco fully developed her passion for the sport during high school, as inspired by her sister, Iari, who is a prominent figure in the Patriots’ history that time. Making it into the Patriots’ home as soon as she entered college, the athletic genes coursing through their system encouraged her sister Iona Yongco to also join the roster for a while.
Spiking for her fifth year as a DLSU-D volleybelle, Iumi Yongco aims to reclaim their championship titles and to compete again at the Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) – nationals stage before concluding her college life.
Yongco has been leading the Lady Patriots for two years where she encountered many difficulties in uniting the team. Yongco almost ended up with shattered dreams after succumbing to a defeat in last year’s PRISAA regionals. Instead of quitting, she recovered her confidence to chase the championship titles for the next leagues. “Para sa teammates ko [at] para sa coaches ko, ginagawa kong inspiration sila para mas tumagal pa ‘ko sa pagva-volleyball at para mas mayroong mapatunayan hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para sa team namin,” she genuinely said.
As a graduating student, Yongco struggles to balance her academics and trainings, but as a student athlete, Yongco focuses on her major goal this year—to march in this batch’s graduation rites.
Being a leader, Yongco unleashes her ferocity inside the court to discipline each member of the team and to mold them as better athletes. Showing her soft side, she never fails to encourage the players by sharing her determination to give a good game in every battle they face.
Being part of Shakey’s V-League, Yongco and her team labelled it as their exposure for better opportunities while growing as an athlete. Moving into a different kind of audience, the Lady Patriots encountered notable memories as they battled with the powerhouse Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles where they managed to keep the scores close even though they surrendered to a three-set defeat. Yongco also noted that the number of supporters is a great factor that affects their performances. “Mahirap kasi, siyempre, sila sikat. Tapos lahat ng crowd, hatak nila; samantalang kami kaunti lang ‘yung crowd. Number one [factor] talaga kapag naglalaro ka, malakas din makahatak ‘yung crowd kapag nasa loob ka ng court,” she pointed out. The Lady Patriots may have received mostly negative comments and feedbacks from the audiences, but they used it as a motivation to help them improve not only individually but also as a team.
Adjusting from a small league to a bigger one tested the Patriots’ flexibility in coping up with different situations as a team. As the captain of the Lady Patriot’s ship, Yongco maintains a positive outlook in their careers even though they dropped the chance of entering the semis and the finals round in this league.The Lady Patriot’s might not be a regular of different popular leagues but as they acquire new experiences like this, improvements are bound to be developed that could one day elevate them to the level of powerhouse contenders.