Meneses on Ateneo skipper Jia Morado: 'Some players are just born with it'
MANILA, Philippines – With the Big Dome as witness, league leaders Ateneo Lady Eagles showcased yet another commanding victory as they handed the University of the Philippines its fourth straight loss in straight sets on Saturday, March 11.
Despite locking in their sixth win in a row, assistant coach Sherwin Meneses said the Battle of Katipunan victors won’t be relaxing anytime soon.
“May one week na preparation [for UP], napaganda rin sa amin,” said Meneses about their straight-set victory. “Next week, dere-deretso ‘yung laro eh, so hindi natin masasabi ‘yung kalalabasan.”
“Si Coach Tai, hindi siya nag-babasta basta. Lumalaban talaga ‘yung UP hanggang huli katulad noong last time nila against NU, hindi naman nag-relax si coach.”
(We had a week to prepare for UP, it worked in our favor. Next week, we’ll have consecutive games so we can’t say anything for sure. Coach Tai takes things seriously. UP fights until the end, just like their last game against NU, so he didn’t relax.)
The Lady Eagles successfully contained their foes as they exploded offensively in the game – manifested in 44 excellent attacks as compared to UP’s 24. Six players likewise contributed to the scoreboard, with Jho Maraguinot and Kat Tolentino both scoring in double digits.
But what became the spark for the blue and white was how team captain and setter Jia Morado, in her own simple ways, kept the fire burning throughout the match.
Morado rightfully earned the Player of the Game Honors, listing 5 points from 2 aces to go with her 38 excellent sets. The skipper has also had a commendable season thus far, landing at the top of the Best Setter race after Round 1 with 333 running sets as well as the Best Server with 19 aces.
According to Meneses, some people are just born with it.
“Meron talagang mga player na pinanganak na ganoon eh,” he shared when asked about Morado.
“Noong naglalaro ako, hindi naman ganoon ang instinct ng setter. ‘Yung kay Jia, nakikita ko talaga [na] kahit pangit ‘yung receive, kaya niyang pagandahin eh. Talagang may instinct siya, sobrang galing niya.”
(There are just some players who are born that way. When I was playing, a setter’s instinct wasn’t like that. Jia is different, she can make something good out of a bad receive. She really has instinct, she’s really good.)
Ateneo currently stays put at the top of the ladder with a 7-1 win-loss record. Although the hard work doesn’t stop there, Meneses remains optimistic that his team will reach the goal of booking a Final Four slot in a few weeks’ time.
“’Pag naglalaro, walang standing na iniisip ‘yung mga bata,” said Meneses.
“[With] 9 wins, Final Four ka na eh. So mas malapit [kami ngayon]. Makaka-reach ng 9 wins sana, agad-agad.”
(The kids don’t think about standings when they play. With 9 wins, you get to be in the Final Four. So we’re closer now. Hopefully, we’ll reach 9 wins very soon.) – Rappler.com