THE rookie-laden National University showed its worth after their big win over contender University of the Philippines proving that other teams shouldn’t count them out in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs, bannered by rookies Ivy Lacsina, Princess Robles and libero Jennifer Nierva, just proved that they belong after sending the Lady Maroons to unexpected back-to-back losses with a 25-17, 14-25, 17-25, 25-23, 17-15 decision on Wednesday at the Arena in San Juan City.
Nierva, who was tremendous in protecting NU’s floor with 29 excellent receptions and 26 digs, believes that this conquest just showed that they can still contend even after all the adversities that happened to the team like the sudden coaching change last December and losing key player Risa Sato weeks before the season due to academic problems and rookie setter Joyme Cagande, who suffered a torn ACL in their campaign opener.
“Siguro ‘yung pagkapanalo namin ngayon, kaya naming patunayan na ‘yung bawat isa, may trust talaga na gusto manalo,” Nierva said. “‘Yung team na ito, kulang kami pero may gusto kami i-achieve na hindi namin sinasabi na ganito lang team namin kaya talo kami. Hindi, ginawa namin siyang motivation.”
Lacsina and Robles, who provided the firepower on offense, agreed, saying that their teamwork made the win possible.
“Siyempre ‘yung nakita naman na lumaban po talaga kami lalo na kapag kunwari may nag-down ‘yung isa sa amin, hindi ka magdodoubt kasi ipupush ka ng team, ng coaches neto,” said Lacsina, who scored 16 points. “Pero siyempre kailangan ‘yung tulong sa sarili mo na ipush mo ang sarili mo.”
“Happy ako kasi nagawa namin ‘yung part namin na mabigay namin ‘yung lahat,” added Robles, who poured 17 points. “Yung pinakita namin kanina, ‘yung teamwork namin kahit kulang kami, laban lang talaga.
NU head coach Norman Miguel said that their rookies shouldn’t be counted out after winning four straight titles in the UAAP girls’ division.
“Sa akin, importante rin kasi ‘yung hindi mo pwede i-discount na rookies lang sila,” Miguel told reporters. “Regardless kung rookies sila, pero champion players ang mga ito doon sa UAAP high school. So kahit rookie sila, ‘yung experience nila, ‘yung character nila naiitutulong talaga nila sa team.”
Miguel is owing the resiliency and heart of his wards to former NU girls’ and women’s coach Babes Castillo, who steered the Lady Bullpups to four straight titles.
“Gusto ko icredit si coach Babes kasi siya ang nagtrain ng players na ito, siya ‘yung nagmold ng character ng mga players na ito,” the NU coach said. “Eh malaking bagay ‘yung paano sila tinerain, binuo ni coach Babes.”
NU improved to 2-4 win-loss record at No.6 and will try to end the first round with another upset against the surging leader Ateneo (5-1) on Saturday.