JHECK Dionela admits her role now with her teams is not really what she signed up for, but the seasoned player has grown to embrace the libero position and prove the job is just as important any other position in volleyball.
Now suiting up for Cignal in the Super Liga, the former Perpetual Help star continues to shine in the non-scoring role.
"If you're a libero, you know clearly you can't jump, spike, jump or make the last touch so that means you can't score a point, it's not really the thing you signed up for," said Dionela.
"So, no matter how hard you tried to dive for a ball, if not converted to a point then your effort will just be an effort and even if it's converted to a point, most of the credit always goes to the spiker," she continued.
The 25-year-old notes that while spikers and setters are always in the spotlight, the pressure to deliver is just the same for liberos.
"As a libero, people expect a lot from you, it's your full responsibility to take the ball to the setter 90 percent all the time, so the pressure is on you, always," Dionela told SPIN.ph.
"You get the ball, dive for it, run for it and sometimes get hit in the face just to keep that ball alive and still keep the plays going, you get balls even if it's not really your area, because its your job, they always say," she added.
Dionela admits being frustrated at times when her efforts are not translated into points, especially after very tough saves.
"Once the ball falls in front of you it's like everyone will quickly question how good you are in your position," she said.
"And thats something we libero's cope with everytime. You have to be extra good because we are only given two jobs, receive and defend and that's it. Oh the pressure."
Dionela is very proud to play alongside the game’s giants and still shine.
"Advantage would probably be, in a sport where height matters, we can still stand out and contribute as much as the other players," she said.
"We don't need to be super tall but we are quicker, faster and flexible than the others. We do the acrobatic job just to keep the ball alive and that's something we are good at and what people are happy to see. We don't even have to jump, block or spike, we only have very little job but very crucial," she added.
Dionela also hopes her being able to take a share of the limelight would encourage younger players to embrace the role of libero.
"You have to love what you do, let it be your passion. Your fuel. You have to be ready all the time, this includes, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual preparation," said Dionela.
"You need a good vision, I mean a good eye on the ball, almost everytime. You need to move three times quicker than usual, because your job is to run after every ball possible that comes your way. That includes all areas. You have to be flexible, you need to learn that being a libero is one tough job. A little dive here and there," stressed Dionela.
"You must be competitive, be better everyday. You don't stop learning, because if you do there is no more room for improvement," she said. "Lastly, practice makes you accurate."