Casiey Dongallo, prized recruit from Eastern University (UE), has established himself as a defining part of the Lady Warriors’ roster.
UE turned things around thanks to the performances of their newcomers with Dongallo, team captain Kizzie Madriaga and Jelai Gajero leading the Lady Warriors’ campaign.
The three were recruited to California Academy after a championship at the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational in June and led the Lady Warriors in their preparations for the UAAP, with Dongallo’s transition from high school to college volleyball going smoothly.
“I didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the UE program since it’s still the same when I was in high school,” Dongallo told the Inquirer on the sidelines of the championship press conference. Shakey’s Super League (SSL) pre-season match on Thursday.
The new challenge for Dongallo, who is now the Lady Warriors’ go-to attacker, is to elevate her game to be on par with bigger and more powerful opponents, not only on offense but also on blocking.
“I can bring the power I got in high school, but what I need to do is play smarter. I think I don’t need to track the strength of their opponents. What I have to do is beat my opponents to be able to score because they are really big,” Dongallo said.
“Even if I make my attacks powerful, I won’t surpass them if I don’t use my head.”
UE finished dead last with a 1-13 record in the previous UAAP season, a dismal record shared by the University of the Philippines, which had to exit the pre-season championship due to lack of preparation .
Signs of life
The Lady Warriors, however, showed signs of life with a five-game winning streak and a semifinal berth in the ongoing V-League Collegiate Challenge, but not without losing Dongallo’s offensive partner, Gajero, to from a serious knee injury.
Gajero motivated Dongallo to continue providing colossal figures that helped improve the EU’s image.
“I know that if this (injury) didn’t happen to her, what she would want is for us to win (or finish) either in the top four or more than that… I would do everything for her and also for the EU community… We joined the EU… to help them improve from where they were before,” Dongallo said.
EU’s 14-man roster in the V-League and entering the SSL will also be their UAAP team but without former Sto. Tomas faces forward Christine Ecalla and former Far East middle blocker Keshia Famulagan, both of whom must complete residency following their transfer.
The Lady Warriors also secured the services of Yesha Rojo from Enderun, but even with the added firepower, Dongallo is keeping her expectations in check.
“We will do our best in (this tournament) but we cannot promise that we will play in the championship,” Dongallo said.
“It’s the best of the best in the UAAP and the NCAA, so (we hope) everyone will give their all to reach the top.”
To subscribe to APPLICANT MORE to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 other titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4 a.m. and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For comments, complaints or inquiries, Contact us.