MHICAELA Belen showed maturity beyond her years in her first seniors Philippine volleyball team stint in the Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.
Rebisco finished last, losing all of its five matches in Nakhon Ratchasima, but it showed a glimpse of the future national stars.
One of the young players who shone was the 19-year-old outside hitter out of Nazareth School.
It was Belen’s first tournament since winning her last high school crown in 2019, but she played fearless and emerged as one of her team’s go-to scorers.
“At first hindi ako makapaniwala kasi po yung age ko hindi pa siya (pang seniors), wala pa po kasi akong experience pagdating sa seniors na game,” said Belen during Spin.ph Zoom In episode on Wednesday.
“Yung mga idols namin na napapanood lang namin sa TV nakalaban na namin. Ang sarap sa feeling na nakita na namin kung paano sila maglaro para pagdating namin sa kanya kanyang mother team yung expectations namin sa sarili namin mas tumaas pa.”
Mhicaela Belen wastes no time to impress
Belen was dauntless in her seniors debut, leading all her teammates with 13 points in their three-set loss to eventual champion Altay of Kazakhstan.
The former UAAP Girls MVP revealed she really felt nervous heading to her first tournament, but brazilian coach Jorge Souza de Brito, her teammates and excitement kept her composed in playing against the top Asian players.
“Inaamin ko kinabahan ako pero nung pag-step namin sa court parang nawala yung kaba ko kasi naisip ko na hindi naman ako mag-isa bakit ako kakabahan,” said Belen.
“Sinabi ko sa sarili ko na dapat pagkatiwalaan ko yung trinaining namin and yung plano ng coaches sa amin para malabas namin yung dapat naming gawin. Andyan naman sila ate Aby (Marano) pinaparamdam po nila sa amin na, wag kami matakot dapat ilaro lang namin kung anong kaya naming gawin.”
The National University rookie shared that she’s even writing pre-game notes on what to do and her goal that she reads after the match.
“Every night nagtetake down notes talaga ako kung anong dapat gawin and anong goal. After the game binabalikan ko po siya tinitignan ko kung nagawa ko ba,” she said. “Kung hindi man dapat next game magawa ko and kung nagawa ko man, dapat next game mas ma-improve ko pa.”
“Minsan nagpepre-workout routine ako kasi nasanay ako na before the game, nagwoworkout muna ako sa room,” she added.
After making a good account of herself in her first seniors national team stint, Belen vows to remain committed in playing for the country even as UAAP action could return early next year.
“As of now naka-focus sa UAAP pero pag nagpatawag na pumunta kami doon or may bubble siguro naman po magcocommit kami talaga kasi para sa bayan,” she said.
She’s also eager to improve more using all her learnings from the Asian Club championship.
“Feel ko yung blockings dapat yung bilis ng timing kasi sa international ang bibilis ng set nila as in iba po kumpara dito sa Philippines and dapat yung serve kargado talaga kasi kung hindi kargado, babalik sayo bomba yung palo talaga.”
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