Kyle Negrito steps up in FEU Lady Tamaraw's Final 4 campaign
MANILA, Philippines – The Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws are inches closer to making it to the Final 4. However, they are not just settling for that.
With the Lady Tamaraws nabbing their 7th win of the season at the expense of the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons on Saturday, March 2, this puts them at 3rd place, with top volleyball teams De La Salle University (DLSU) and Ateneo leading the standings.
Part of their race to the semi-finals is being able to win the twice-to-beat advantage this season after years of settling in the bottom half of the Final 4.
"Gusto namin makuha 'yung spot na 'yun para mas may advantage kami pagdating sa semis, kasi 'yung mga past year, lagi kami 'yung nasa baba, tapos kalaban namin 'di namin natatalo, so 'di kami nakakaakyat," said FEU captain Bernadeth Pons.
(We want to get that spot so that we'll have more advantage when we get to the semis, because in the past years, we were always at the bottom and we couldn't beat our opponents, so we couldn't move up.)
In their Season 80 campaign, 4th year player Kyle Negrito has slowly been stepping up to her role as the team's setter. In Saturday's game, she crafted 46 excellent sets to bolster FEU's offense, distributing the ball perfectly to topscorers Pons and Jeanette Villareal who scored 15 points apiece.
FEU head coach George Pascua made sure to constantly remind Negrito of her playmaking duties as the team has to put their full trust in her efforts.
"Sabi ko nga sa kanya, siya 'yung mag-lead kasi siya 'yung setter, siya 'yung nagfi-feed ng bola. Kung mawawala siya sa composure niya, mahihirapan 'yung kasama niya kasi kumbaga sa basketball, point guard siya, siya ang taga-bigay ng bola. Kapag bad pass, maaagawan," said Pascua.
(I told her that she should lead because she's the setter, she's the one feeding the balls. If she loses her composure, her teammates will have a hard time because if this is basketball, she's the point guard, she's the one giving the ball. If it's a bad pass, it'll get stolen.)
Aside from settling into her role, Negrito managed to snatch 9 points from UP. These were mostly from sneaky drop shots that were products of Negrito skillfully faking her opponent.
Negrito admits that it was not a "command" by Pascua, but it was her own conscious effort to take home those points that were crucial to FEU's win against the Lady Maroons.
"Hindi naman talaga plano (ang mga drop balls). Si coach kasi hinahayaan lang din talaga ako na parang sa akin kasi kapag nagagawa ko 'yun dagdag sa confidence ko. Naging effective naman," said Negrito.
(It's not really part of the plan to make drop balls. It's coach who allows me to be like that, because doing that boosts my confidence. It was effective.)
Pascua hopes that his players like Negrito will continue to improve on their decision-making by having a better mindset in the first place.
"Wala naman (akong worry), 'yung mind setting lang, kasi 'yun ang hindi ko kayang hawakan – 'yung decision-making ng player. Once na nag-iba 'yung mindset niya, nawala sa game plan," said Pascua
(I don't have any worries, only the mind setting, because that's what I can't control – the decision-making of the players. Once their mindset changes, they fall out of the game plan.)
"So hopefully maging matured pa, kasi ito na ang laban eh. Ito na ang chance namin eh, so ibig sabihin mas pagbubutihin pa namin, kasi 'yung pagkakataon once lang dumating so kailangan i-grab na namin ang opportunity. 'Yun ang tatrabahuhin namin."
(So hopefully the plays mature. This is our chance, so meaning, we have to make it better, because the opportunity comes only once, so we need to grab the opportunity. That's what we have to work on.)
The Lady Tamaraws' next game will be on Saturday, April 7, against the Adamson Lady Falcons, at the Araneta Coliseum. – Rappler.com