Nabor, Ayell Estranero crowd big guns Fajardo, Morado in UAAP Best Setter race
Jasmine Nabor, Jia Morado, Kim Fajardo and Ayell Estranero have put up solid numbers early in Season 79. 

FOR the past three years it has been Kim Fajardo of La Salle versus Jia Morado of Ateneo in the best setter race.

But now it’s looking like a four-way battle in the UAAP in Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament.

Jasmine Nabor of National University has carried over to the UAAP her fine form in the commercial leagues in the preseason, while Ayell Estranero has been a key factor in the impressive early run of league-leading University of the Philippines.

Morado leads with an average of 12 excellent sets per set after five matches, followed by Fajardo with 11.56 also in five outings.

Nabor, who has played only four matches, is running third at 10.57, while Estranero is a very close fourth at 10.38 for the Lady Maroons, who are unbeaten in four games.

NU is the second best attacking team with 33.41 success rate next to Ateneo’s 37.11.

In NU’s four-set win over Ateneo, Nabor won by three excellent sets over Morado (43-40).

Fajardo was way ahead, however, in the showdown with Fajardo, 41-22, as the Lady Spikers blasted the Lady Bulldogs in three.

Nabor will face Estranero on March 5 at MOA Arena.

The graduating Fajardo, a Best Setter awardee in Seasons 76 and 78, was impressed with the sophomore Nabor.

“Nag-start pa lang kasi siya tapos ganoon na siya, parang boom na siya kaagad,” said Fajardo, a spiker when she was recruited by University of Santo Tomas for its high school team.

“Marami pa siyang kayang gawin at marami syang matututunan.”

“Matagal pa siya sa UAAP, no? Dito siya makakapulot ng maraming aral, maa-apply nya sa mga susunod niya pang laro,” she said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinlozada