IT wasn't the end to their collegiate careers they had envisioned, but Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola and Princess Gaiser held their head high after University of the Philippines' season finished on a sad note on Wednesday night.
The graduating trio couldn't help but shed tears after the Lady Maroons' quest for a Final Four place in the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament was ended prematurely by a 16-25, 16-25, 25-27 loss to Far Eastern University on Wednesday at The Arena in San Juan.
When they finally regained their bearings, Tiamzon and Co. felt a sense of pride to be part of the awakening that made UP a force to be reckoned with in the league.
“I think ‘yung attitude na kahit na lumagpak ka, ma-down ka, ‘wag kang papayag na ‘di ka aangat,” said Tiamzon, an outside hitter turned setter before she was converted back to her natural position by UP coach Jerry Yee this season.
Bersola, the Season 77 best blocker, agreed.
“May mga na-achieve naman kami kahit papaano. Siguro ang pinaka-legacy namin is, tinry talaga naming ibalik ang winning ways ng UP,” Bersola said.
Last season, UP made it back to the Final Four after a 13-year absence then started this year's campaign on a high note, defeating Adamson, University of the East, defending champion La Salle and University of Santo Tomas for a 4-0 start.
Despite losing steam in the final stretch of the eliminations, Gaiser said the big leap the Lady Maroons have made over the years is no small feat.
“I feel blessed na naabutan ko ‘to na from two wins to seven wins, that means a lot to me kasi we never expected it to be like this,” said Gaiser, whose season ended after she suffered an ACL injury on her left knee at the end of the first roound.
“We just train every day and hindi namin alam na ito ang mangyayari. So it was a blessing,” added the UP libero. “And super swerte talaga namin nina Kathy (and Nicole) na naabutan namin ang ganito. Na volleyball sobrang pinagtutuunan ng pansin, unlike before.”
Now that their UAAP season is over, it’s time for the three, all Sports Science majors, to give their studies undivided attention. Bersola, a summa cum laude candidate, and Tiamzon will focus on their thesis and Gaiser is preparing to enter medical school.