Ateneo coach never ceases to be amazed by setter Jia Morado's 'unmatched instincts'
Jia Morado emerged as the top setter after the first round and had another stellar performance against UP. Dante Peralta

ATENEO setter Jia Morado once again proved that she's one of the best, if not the best, playmakers in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament after another stellar showing against University of the Philippines on Saturday.

At the end of the first round, the fourth year setter of Katipunan outdid her La Salle counterpart and closest rival Kim Fajardo as she averaged 13.32 sets per frame compared to the Lady Spikers setter’s 13.13 mark.

Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses, though, was not surprised with Morado’s development as he marveled at the Lady Eagles playmaker’s unmatched instincts.

“Syempre meron talagang mga players na pinanganak na ganoon (kagaling) eh,” said Meneses, who also used to be a setter for Adamson University in the early 2000’s.

“Totoo, kasi noong nag-aaral din ako hindi naman ako ganoon kagaling. Kasi ‘yung instinct ng setter talaga iba ang kay Jia,” he added.

As the Lady Eagles started their flight in the second round, Morado, 21, made all of the teams’ 38 excellent sets that were converted into 44 attack points as Ateneo drubbed UP, 25-15, 25-14, 25-15, on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

“Nakikita ko talaga kahit pangit ang receive, kaya niyang pagandahin eh. So ‘yun ‘yung may instinct siya talaga na isang block lagi, sobrang galing niya,” said Meneses.

But Morado stayed humble despite earning high praise from one of her coaches, as the soft-spoken Ateneo captain insisted she was just doing her job.

“Volleyball is a team sport nga parang lahat kami may kanya-kanyang role, so kailangan mag-function ako as setter para makalaro ang team,” she said. 

“Pero siyempre hindi rin ako makaka-function kung hindi gagawin ng iba ang trabaho nila. So as much as possible, lahat kami nagtutulungan,” she added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin