MANILA, Philippines – Isa Molde scored on a crosscourt hit, Diana Carlos rose high for a kill off the block, Maris Layug rejected a star player, and Justine Dorog guided the ball down the line.
The hard-working rookies of University of the Philippines showed a glimpse of its women’s volleyball team’s promising future as they put up a good fight against back-to-back UAAP champions Ateneo de Manila University Saturday, August 15 in the Shakey’s V-League 12 Collegiate Conference.
So tremendous was their effort and display of talent and potential that two-time UAAP MVP and volleyball’s biggest star today Alyssa Valdez was left highly impressed.
“They really played as sobrang experienced players na. Imagine how much yung mai-improve nila and mararating nila, first year pa lang,” the 22-year old Lady Eagles standout said after her team overcame a serious threat from the rookie-laden Lady Maroons crew in 4 sets.
(They really played as very experienced players already. Imagine how much more they can improve and how far they can go. They’re only on their first year.)
“We’re really looking forward to seeing much competitive volleyball competition. We’re really happy. It’s really not just for the benefit of schools but for the benefit of the whole Philippine volleyball.”
UP, which came dangerously close to leading Ateneo 2-1 in Saturday’s quarterfinals clash, has a V-League line-up intentionally made up of mostly rookies.
The goal, according to coach Jerry Yee, is to provide exposure and experience for his young team that aims to eventually better a 5-9 win-loss performance from UAAP Season 77.
Young though they may be, UP’s new faces have made quite a memorable impact already, showing character and spunk versus National University and reigning NCAA champions Arellano University.
They also displayed their mettle in convincing wins over regional contenders Polytechnic University of the Philippines and University of Batangas.
Valdez excitedly enumerated the jersey numbers of 6 Lady Maroons that caught her attention, including Layug, Molde, Dorog, and Carlos, who are 4 of the usual starters for Yee.
Dorog topscored for UP with 14 points while Carlos and Molde added 12 and 10 points, respectively. Middle blocker Layug had 5 points with 3 rejections.
“They really played as a team,” said Valdez. “Nakita rin namin yung flaws namin and mga kailangan namin i-improve as a team (We also saw our flaws and what we need to improve on as a team). There’s always room for improvement.”
The rookies’ performance bodes well for the Lady Maroons when they are re-joined by veterans Nicole Tiamzon and Kathy Bersola in February next year for UAAP Season 78. But for Valdez, UP is not the only brewing contender for the upcoming season.
“It’s really every team,” she said. “Even if they’re freshmen they’re going to fight. The rookies are heartstrong. Everyone’s preparing for the UAAP. That’s still in February so everyone’s going to improve.”
The Lady Eagles resume the quarterfinals on Saturday, August 29 in a battle between the UAAP champions and NCAA title-holders Arellano. – Rappler.com
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