Jema Galanza looks forward to new UAAP season
by rick olivares
Jessica "Jema" Galanza sat unobtrusively in the upper box section of the Philsports Arena watching the semi-finals of the Reinforced Conference of the Shakey’s V-League.
Galanza’s team, the Laoag Power Smashers, finished sixth in the eight team field with a 2-5 record. The fourth year Adamson student only suited up in two matches for her team of this season. Despite adding more firepower in the form of Gretchel Soltones, Jorelle Singh, and Aiko Urdas, Laoag was still unable to make any headway into the semi-finals.
Now, the pretty opposite hitter was in the stands to cheer on her former Adamson Lady Falcons teammates – Fen Emnas of the Bureau of Customs Transformers and Erika Alkuino of the Pocari Sweat Lady Warriors – whose squads were battling different opponents for the right to book a finals berth. Her former Adamson coach, Sherwin Meneses, is at the helm of BOC whose squad was able to upset BaliPure and send their series to a deciding Game Three.
Her two teammates left in the wake of the controversy that followed Meneses’ untimely departure from Adamson. “Muntik din ako umalis,” said Galanza. “Pero siguro best para sa akin na mag-stay. Nakakalungkot lang yung nangyari.”
“Nandito tayo sa stands para maiba,” said Galanza while taking in the matches. “Marami ka rin matututunan sa papanood ng mga laro at sa mga nakakalaban namin sa court.”
“Siyempre, sana makalaro sa mga semi-finals,” wished Galanza whose Adamson and Laoag teams have not advanced to the knockout stages of the UAAP and Shakey’s V-League tournaments. Galanza’s Adamson team finished seventh with a 3-11 record after a tumultuous Season 78 last year that saw Meneses resign citing differences with team management.
With new American head coach Airess Padda, a two-time Division II All-American with Cal State Los Angeles, looking to rejuvenate the Lady Falcons, Galanza is excited for the upcoming UAAP volleyball season.
“Kahit hindi kami nakapasok sa finals ng Unigames, maganda yung pinakita ng team; maganda yung resulta,” related Galanza. “Maraming nabago under Coach Airess. Puwestuhan, mental approach sa laro. Marami. Malaki ang motivation namin to bounce back this season.”
Galanza, who is taking up Education in Adamson (MAPE – Music, Arts, and Physical Education) hopes to teach when her playing days are done. “Enjoy ako magturo. Kaya talagang nakikinig ako sa mga professor ko at sa mga coaches sa team. Maraming kailangan matutunan.”
And there’s a lot Jema Galanza and her teammates will have to learn if they hope to bring the Adamson Lady Falcons back to volleyball prominence.