The rise of Joy Dacoron
Last year’s cellar dweller, the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons has suddenly became the hottest toast in the league following their dramatic 25-18, 15-25, 25-19, 25-22 win over the two-time defending champions De La Salle University (DLSU) in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) last Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
With the victory, the Lady Falcons scored its first win over the Lady Archers since January 2008 and more importantly put themselves in the fifth spot with a 3-3 (win-loss) card just behind Far Eastern University’s (FEU) 3-2 slate and ahead of University of Sto. Tomas (UST) who sports a 2-2 record.
And one of the reasons of the team’s improved play is the breakout performance of their defensive juggernaut in Cebuana middle-blocker Mary Joy Dacoron who has been a key contributor for the Lady Falcons this year averaging 9.83 points per match.
The 22-year-old Dacoron made her presence felt in their victory against the Lady Archers as she dropped a season-high 15 points built on five kills, five blocks and five aces highlighted by a running kill that put Adamson at match point.
It was also her third double-figure game of the season, having previously reached the twin-digit mark when she scored 12 points against FEU and 11 points over the University of the Philippines (UP).
And behind Dacoron’s solid performance is a burning desire of trying to find another shot of playing at a professional level once she exhausts her playing years in the league.
The former Oslob National High School volley belle was on the verge of living the dream as she received an opportunity to join Sta. Lucia of the Philippine Superliga (PSL) during the offseason but due to the team's regulations, she was unable to suit up for the Lady Realtors which led to her disappointment.
“The time I almost gave up was when after the last University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season, I was supposed to play for Sta. Lucia but my coach did not allow me to. I was pissed at that time since it was also offseason" Dacoron said.
While the coach’s decision led to her dismay at first, Dacoron eventually realized the chance of giving back to the school that awarded her a scholarship and an opportunity to play against the best hitters in the country thus leading her to stay loyal with her Alma Mater with the hopes of finally ending a long playoff drought.
“My coaches and teammates and the Adamson community inspire me to play. Actually, they are the reason why I always work hard because I want us to reach something this season," she told this correspondent.
It can be recalled that Dacoron’s first three seasons with the San Marcelino-based school did not translate into a rosy performance as the Lady Falcons found themselves out of the playoff picture finishing Seasons 77 and 78 in seventh place with 5-9 and 3-11 slates respectively and ending last season’s spiking wars with a lackluster 1-13 mark, which is good for the last place.
The Lady Falcons last made the semifinals in Season 76 in which they eventually wound up in fourth after losing to the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs in the penultimate round.
Asked as to what will be her plans after finishing her studies, Dacoron said that she looks forward to playing a few years professionally before venturing into business.
“Maybe after the UAAP I will play one to two years on the professional level and after that, I want to have a career without volleyball. I would like business and other career paths that I like,"
But at any rate, one thing is clear; she is all set on helping the team make it to the final four.
"This is my fourth season in the UAAP but I still don't have an achievement especially in our team standings the last few years. For now, I'm looking forward to this season, hoping that I can have something which I can call a UAAP achievement," she said.
Dacoron and the rest of the Lady Falcons return to action next Sunday as they try to close out the first round on a strong note as they take on the University of the East still in San Juan.