Ateneo's Bea de Leon overcomes leadership struggles
MANILA, Philippines – For a team that bounced back big from an opening-game loss to roll to its fifth straight win, the Ateneo Lady Eagles credit their captain Bea de Leon for always being the voice that keeps them together on court.
But the passionate veteran middle blocker admits it hasn't always been easy during the Lady Eagles' early run in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.
"[My teammates and coach] saw me struggle talaga and mahirap yun gawin mag-isa," said De Leon.
(My teammates and coach really saw me struggle and it's hard to do things on your own.)
Her team's trust, the Ateneo captain said, gave her the confidence.
"When [coach Oliver Almadro] reminded me that ‘I don’t always need your points, I just need your voice,’ it gave me a lot of confidence that at least he still has trust in me," she said.
De Leon hopes to carry that confidence when the Lady Eagles – holding the solo top spot at 5-1 – try to wrap up their first-round campaign with another win versus upset-conscious National University on Saturday, March 16.
"You know, I really admire Bea," said Almadro. "They’re really putting sacrifices and everything. Pinapadali nila ang work ko as a new coach. Sabi ko nga sa kanya points will come. Darating yan basta patience lang. Tinutulungan ngayon siya ng teammates niya."
(Bea makes my work as a coach easier. I told her that the points will come. It will come as long as you have patience. Her teammates have been helping her.)
Ponggay Gaston also believes that De Leon's presence has been crucial to the Lady Eagles' much imporved chemistry and on-court communication.
"Si Bea sobrang team player siya, so Bea is willing to give up her points so that she can help other players," shared Gaston. "She'll look at me and she'll say 'Pong, balik ka, ganito-ganyan.' So pag ganoon, yun ang nagiging motivation ko."
(Bea is really a team player, so Bea is willing to give up her points so that she can help other players. She'll look at me and say 'Pong, come back, this is what you should do.' So if the situation is like that, that becomes my motivation.) – Leigh Cabildo/ Rappler.com