VNS head coach Ralph Ocampo lauded his wards for playing through despite suffering a traumatic incident just two days before their clash against Philippine Army in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference.
The Griffins were staying in their headquarters in Novaliches, Quezon City when a factory nearby caught fire and reached the fourth alarm. Gladly, no member of the team got hurt during the incident.
“Akala namin mawawalan kami ng bahay at court. Sobrang laki nung sunog,” Ocampo recalled.
“Yung court [nasa] third floor, yung VNS court. Yung second floor parang dugout namin, nandoon kami lahat then may narinig kaming mga sumasabog pagtingin namin yung factory sa likod namin as in sobrang lapit lang, four meters and then sobrang laki na ng apoy,” he continued.
Ocampo said that the team was not able to train properly after the ordeal as they stayed in a nearby hotel.
“Actually hindi kami masyadong nakapag-training kasi nasunugan kami. Nasunog yung likod na factory namin so dumampi na yung apoy sa may homecourt namin so yung mga players ko walang mga tulog ‘yan,” said Ocampo.
Still, the young VNS squad showed up on Wednesday and fended off the Troopers in five sets, 25-14, 20-25, 18-25, 25-11, 15-13, to remain in contention for the semifinals.
Unfortunately, though, Iloilo managed to win its match-up against PGJC-Navy in four sets, 23-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-21, to punch the final ticket in the semifinals and officially eliminate the Griffins.
Even if they missed the semifinals once again, Ocampo said that he is very proud of his young team, who showed maturity beyond years throughout the Open Conference but most especially in their previous match against Army.
“Nakakatrauma yung experience pero yung mga player ko talaga, I salute them kasi naglaro pa rin sila nang maayos despite of all the tragedy. Sobrang proud ko sa kanila kasi nga imagine winning this game.”