THERE was no better scorer in the UAAP Season 81 Women's volleyball tournament opening weekend than the University of the Philippines' Isa Molde.
The fourth year open hitter had 23 points, leading the Lady Maroons past the gritty University of the East Lady Warriors and earning a citation from the UAAP Press Corps.
UP needed every bit of Molde's 23-point outing to survive the grueling five-setter against one of the league's best defensive teams. The Season 78 Rookie of the Year also made 10 excellent receptions.
Billed as contenders after winning the PSL Collgiate Grand Slam and PVL Collegiate Conference, the Lady Maroons came into opening day with a lot of pressure. Molde insists that the pressure is helping her and UP focus on their goals.
"Siyempre, may pressure talaga. Pero, nandoon naman 'yung pressure kasi nakita ng mga tao, ng UP community na kaya namin. Nakakatulong din siya para sa confidence mo," said the Cebuana.
UP head coach Godfrey Okumu expressed the need for a balanced performance from his roster to succeed in the UAAP. But, having players like Molde to rely on in clutch situations is a luxury he enjoys.
"We have a lot of great players, but someone like Isa helps us get out of tough spots," said the Kenyan mentor.
"When we have to go out-of-system, Isa can be relied on to get us points. We'll definitely need more of that type of play to get good results moving forward."
The Lady Maroons will face Far Eastern University on Wednesday in a rematch of the PVL Collegiate Conference finals.
"Mahirap talaga kalaban 'yung FEU kasi marami din sa kanilang veterans and ready mag-contribute sa team. Kailangan namin talaga maging composed against them and bawasan 'yung mga errors namin," Molde closed.