A REMNANT of the last University of the Philippines team to win a UAAP women's volleyball championship, Senator Pia Cayateno is urging the current batch of Lady Maroons to "start thinking like champions."
Cayetano, a sophomore player when UP won its last championship in 1982, is beaming with pride seeing the present-day Lady Maroons show a lot of improvement and raise hope of ending a 34-year title drought.
The Diliman-based squad is currently in third spot in the standing with a 7-4 win-loss slate, just behind early semifinalists La Salle and Ateneo which are tied for top spot with 9-2 records.
“I had the chance to talk to them and I told them na malayo na ang narating nila," Cayetano said. "Kasi I’ve been watching over the years and, honestly, there was really not much to watch a few years ago. But in the last few years, nag-improve na sila.
“And now they’ve reached third place sa standings and so sabi ko they should start thinking like champions,” she added. “Kasi iba ‘yung mindset ng champion and ‘yung challenge ko sa kanila tularan nila kami mag-champion.”
UP is tied with La Salle as the third most successful team in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament with eight championships, next to University of Santo Tomas with 14 and Far Eastern University with 29.
“Ang top three before was always consistently FEU, UST and UP, ‘yun lang. Kami parati naglalaban-laban ‘yung UE nasa consistent fourth and then the rest nakakapaglaro na ang second stringers,” she said.
The former national player’s face brightened up when she talked about how the Lady Fighting Maroons are proving that they’re once again a force to be reckoned with in the league.
“I’m very proud of the UP team,” she said. “My batch was the last UAAP women’s volleyball champion so it’s very inspiring to see them, the sport that I love, from the university that I came from, nakikita kong palaban na sila ulit.”
“I believe that as a player myself, it’s just a matter of believing in yourself, never giving up at any point and fighting together from the beginning to the end, kasi they have that skill,” she added.