MANILA, Philippines — Thirteen years ago, Karl Dimaculangan led University of Santo Tomas to a perfect 17-0 title run in the UAAP Season 71, where he also won the Season MVP and Best Server award last 2009.
Fast forward to the present day, Dimaculangan’s career from player to head coach has come full circle after steering National University to an outright finals appearance with a perfect 14-0 record in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
The youthful coach was reminded of the memories of their historic run for the Tiger Spikers when he brought the Lady Bulldogs to their first Finals appearance in the Final Four era.
“The last time I had this feeling was in Season 71 when I was playing. I’m so happy that I did it again, this time as a coach,” said Dimaculangan after completing NU’s elimination round sweep with a 25-22, 29-27, 25-17 victory over UST on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Knowing the experience of an outright Finals, Dimaculangan stressed to the Lady Bulldogs, composed of rookies Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Sheena Toring, and Lams Lamina, that their job is not yet done.
“At this level that the elimination round is over, we’re expecting a different kind of game and higher level of intensity (in the Finals). There is a pressure, but I keep on reminding my team that the job is not yet done,” he said.
NU will have to wait for its finals rival as the semifinals will play in a stepladder format. Ateneo managed to force a playoff with Adamson for the No.4 spot after beating University of the Philippines.
The No.4 seed will face UST in a do-or-die match with the winner advancing to the last phase of the step ladder against the twice-to-beat La Salle.
Dimaculangan is putting premium on their recovery period, but rest assured they won’t let their guards down in their shot to win a UAAP title for the first time since 1957.
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