NATIONAL University head coach Norman Miguel says rookie libero Jennifer Nierva is a natural leader, making her a very significant member of the team in their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
That was evident in a crucial fifth-set timeout in the Lady Bulldogs' second-round battle against University of the Philippines last Sunday when Nierva, who was waiting for her turn to be fielded in the rotation, surprisingly gave her thoughts in the huddle after his mentor.
The rookie libero was guiding service specialist Bingle Landicho on Tots Carlos’s attack tendencies, pointing where the hit of the UP star might land.
“Pag pumalo si ano dito lang yung palo niya or dito ha? Doon lang yung shot niya,” said Nierva on the timeout.
Here's a video clip of the scene by ABS-CBN Sports.
Landicho followed the instructions of her teammate and had successful digs in the crucial stretch of the game until Nierva returned to the floor and manned the defense, resulting in spikers Princess Robles and Audrey Paran nailing the crucial blows that completed the season sweep on UP and earned NU’s fourth win in 13 games.
Miguel appreciated the gesture of his rookie from Nazareth School of National University, who was named player of the game finishing with 30 digs and 27 excellent receptions.
“Jen’s gesture of talking to the players is not new to me, because I encourage it. Her leadership is natural,” Miguel told Spin.ph. “Before the start of our games, I make sure that I talk to her and remind her to lead her teammates especially in the passing and defense department.”
“There’s always a significant factor in our game if Jen’s game is high and effective,” he added.
In fact, the NU coach wants his rookie-laden team to be vocal as long as the players won’t interrupt him and his staff during their huddles.
“I don’t discourage our players and even my other coaches to deliver inputs during games,” Miguel said. “I just have one rule to them, I should speak first and then I will give the floor to my staff to say their piece and even other players if they have anything to say.”
Fans are wondering if Nierva could be a coach someday after seeing her leadership and high volleyball IQ at age 19.
For coach Miguel, she has the potential.
“She can, probably, but it’s her choice,” he said.