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MANILA, Philippines – The life of a student-athlete’s is never easy – it requires the right amount of passion and dedication in order to succeed. Beyond rigorous morning and afternoon trainings, there’s always a good bunch of academic workload waiting on the side. At this time of the year, requirements are most likely starting to pile up as undergrads face the big bright sign of Midterms.
But when you’re competing in the UAAP, not only do you think about doubling your effort in school, but you also work twice as hard in practice as the crucial stage of the competition – the hunt for a Final Four spot – slowly unfolds.
You just cope with it, as the University of the Philippines team captain Arielle Estranero believes.
“As student-athletes, we learn from an early age how to manage our time,” Estranero told Rappler. “Acads [Academics] will never be a reason for low performance or bad performance during a game.”
As student-athletes like her have been doing this from the onset of their careers, the Communication Research major sees no reason for “hell week” to affect a player’s game.
“Yes, it’s our midterms, but we don’t find it as something na nakaka-affect sa game namin or something that distracts us (we don’t find it as something that affects our game or something that distracts us). I guess all of us can manage very well our acads and training time.”
The skipper instead focused her attention on the Lady Maroons’ errors, particularly in the first ball, as the main factor in their 27-25, 25-11, 25-17 loss against the De La Salle University on Sunday, March 19.
The Diliman squad obtained two chances to claim the opening set, but the Lady Spikers’ endgame composure proved to be fruitful as they closed out the tiebreaker at 27. With momentum fueling their solid outings in both offense and defense, the defending champions ran away with a clean sweep in a revenge victory against UP.
“I guess it was the errors, ‘yung sunod-sunod na errors,” the libero-turned-setter said after the game. “Hindi lang ‘yung isang tao sa team, but collectively.”
(I guess it was the errors, our consecutive errors. Not just by one person in the team, but collectively.)
“The entire game, it was the errors from each one of us that actually affected the result of today’s game.”
Tied with Far Eastern University at 5-5, the Lady Maroons have a tough journey ahead as they buckle up for a showdown with the Lady Tams, National University and University of Santo Tomas – which both sit at 6-4 – for a spot in this year’s semifinals.
The Lady Maroons, as Estranero said, will have to stay true to their alma mater’s mantra as they go about the last few stretches of Season 79.
For the goal of the Final Four, UP will just have to keep on fighting.
“It’s a tough fight going into the last few stretches,” smiled Estranero. “We can’t let this affect us kasi crucial stages na of the UAAP. Everyone wants to be in the Final Four, but at the same time, kailangan namin pagbutihan para makaabot kami doon.”
(It’s the crucial stage of the UAAP. Everyone wants to be in the Final Four, but at the same time, we need to do better to reach that [Final Four].)
“Every game is really important, every game we have the mindset of wanting to win. But we just have to continue to focus on the process, in improving ourselves.”
“It’s not an easy way up there, but syempre, tuloy ang laban (the fight goes on).” – Rappler.com