UNIVERSITY of the East’s graduating libero Kath Arado is impressed with the great showing of National University rookie Jennifer Nierva in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
In their possible last UAAP game against each other, the graduating UE star and NU’s rookie libero expressed their mutual respect for each other after the Lady Red Warriors took down the Lady Bulldogs in four sets on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
“Sa unang taon niya dito, ang galing niya, kasi nadadala niya ang team niya. Nakikita ko yung future niya,” said Arado on Nierva. “Grabe, ang galing na bata. Kasi grabe ang tyaga niya eh. Ang tiyaga niyang kumuha ng bola, ang tiyaga niyang dalhin ang team niya. Kaya good job talaga sa kanya. Ang galing.”
The reigning UAAP Best Receiver and Best Digger, who is playing her final season for UE, deflected the comparisons that Nierva has been getting to other liberos as she stressed that the rookie shows a unique style of floor defense.
“May unique na movement siya eh. Wala siyang ginagaya walang pwedeng ikumpara sa kanya kasi siya talaga yun,” Arado said. “Simula nu’ng high school siya ganun na talaga siya dinala niya hanggang college. Walang dapat i-compare sa kanya. Sariling style niya yun kaya nakaka-amaze siyang panoorin. Unique ang galawan niya, siya talaga yun at pinaghihirapan niya.”
Nierva, for her part, was overwhelmed by the inspiring words from one of the top liberos she looks up to.
“I’m overwhelmed. Hindi ko po alam kung ano yung style ko. Happy lang ako. Nilapitan niya ako after ng game tapos hindi ko alam ano irereact ko,” Nierva said. “Super happy ako kasi everytime na maglalaro ako siya yung inspiration ko, nakikita ko yung mga highlights niya sabi ko I hope someday ganito din yung level ko or mas maangatan ko siya.”
The former Nazareth School of NU star added that she learned a lot from her two UAAP games against her idol Arado and she hopes to be as stable and as quick as the multi-awarded libero.
“Siguro yung mga saves niya na dapat makuha ko, may mga saves din dapat ako, yung mga pancake niya wala akong ganun,” Nierva said. “Siya yung laging steady sa UE pero siguro overall yung natutunan ko talaga is kailangan stable talaga e.”
But Arado, the former co-rookie of the year of EJ Laure last Season 77, insisted that the 19-year-old defensive specialist is already doing a tremendous job, especially in reception.
“Kaya din napapa-wow ako sa kanya kasi ang ganda ng first ball niya,” Arado said. “Yun ang wala ako nu’ng first year ako eh, wala talaga akong first ball eh. Kaya bilib talaga ako sa batang yun.”
Kath Arado of UE is facing a wide-open race for the Best Libero plum against Thang Ponce of Adamson, Buding Duremdes of FEU and NU’s rookie Jennifer Nierva.
Nierva was the second best receiver after the first round with 51.38% efficiency behind Arado’s league-high 59.01% and she is fourth digs with 5.15 digs per set behind Adamson’s Thang Ponce, FEU’s Buding Duremdes and Arado.
But the dark horse contender for the Best Libero plum and Rookie of the Year is not looking at her stats as she only wants to help her team and embrace her role in the rest of their UAAP campaign, where they hold a 2-6 win-loss record tied with UE.
“Sa akin yung stats, just to see kung ano yung pinerform mo as individual na player pero mas tinitignan ko yung pinakamacocontribute ko sa team,” Nierva said. “Every single game talagang ibibigay ko lang yung best ko na makakatulong yung role ko sa mga teammates ko.”