ADAMSON hitter-turned-setter MJ Igao rose as the unlikely frontrunner in the Best Setter race in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Collegiate Conference.
Behind the Lady Falcons’ seven-game sweep in the eliminations was the continuous improvement of Igao in scattering the offensive load to her spikers, which made her the No. 1 in the best setter race with 6.2 excellent sets per frame.
Ten months ago when she was converted to setter, the transferee from University of San Carlos in Cebu admitted that she doubted herself if she can do the task given to her by coach Air Padda, but she found strength and guts to step up as the playmaker with the help of her family.
“Hesitant po ako kasi napakahirap po ng setter tapos parang pinupush din ako ng family ko na mag go at i-grab yung opportunity,” Igao said. “Parang nagkacourage ako na tanggapin yung role kahit mahirap tsaka nastart ko mahalin yung pagseset simula nung simula.”
As she continues to adjust being the main setter of Adamson, the 21-year-old volleybelle confessed that she still feels the pressure in carrying the huge responsibility of the Lady Falcons’ offense.
“Siyempre pressured baka hindi ko magawa yung mga dapat ipagawa sa akin tapos parang tinatry ko lang na positive inputs lang yung ginagawa ko sa sarili ko,” the Hospitality Management major said.
Padda, who was not contented with the past performance of their new setter, was surprised when she learned that Igao topped the setting battle after making 28 excellent sets in the Lady Falcons’ 19-25, 25-10, 25-21, 25-13 win over San Sebastian College on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The American mentor was proud and saw a lot of potential on her young setter.
“Isn’t that crazy? She has the least amount of experience among all the setters. I’m really proud of her. That job is really really hard to do well. I think she’s handling the pressure she’s only played seven games as an actual setter,” Padda said. “There’s a lot of promise for her. If she’s (first) right now and she’s nowhere near setting consistent. I can’t wait to see what maybe she can do in UAAP.”
Igao, for her part, was flattered but will use her coach’s compliments as an inspiration for their future games, especially in the UAAP Season 81 volleyball tournament next year.
“Proud siya sa mga na-achieve tsaka mga naging improvements ko tapos ayun lang lagi niya pa ring nireremind na gawin ko pa rin kung ano makakaya ko, i-push sarili ko,” she said.
“Madami pa rin po akong kailangan iimprove kasi madami pa rin kaming lapses pero okay naman sa feeling, siyempre masaya. Tapos kailangan ko pa rin ng experience at confidence yun lang naman yung sinasabi nila coach e kasi nga inexperience pa ako.”
As the Lady Falcons battle the fourth-seeded UP Lady Maroons in the best-of-three semifinals series starting on Wednesday, Igao vows to improve her game and connection with her spikers entering the crucial part of the tournament.
“Sa training lang kami magsisimula ulit gagawin lang namin yung best namin sa training para maapply namin sa games lalo na ako sa connection ko sa spikers,” she said.