KATH Arado and her fellow seniors have no regrets staying with University of the East for five years after ending their collegiate careers with smiles on their faces.
The Lady Red Warriors ended UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament with a 20-25, 25-27, 11-25 loss to No. 1 Ateneo on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan City.
But Arado, Judith Abil, Roselle Baliton, Lai Bendong, Jasmine Alcayde and Jana Sta. Maria were fulfilled to show that UE belongs to UAAP with a 3-11 win-loss record and a couple of gallant fights this season.
The six players had a total of 7-63 record in their five seasons but Arado has no regrets on choosing and staying with UE all the way.
“Itong limang taon na nag stay ako sa UE, kahit sabihin nating unti unti, pero kasi maraming pagbabago na alam naming mga seniors,” the reigning Best Digger and Best Receiver said. “Hindi kami nagsisi na UE kami kahit maraming negative na daming nagsasabi na di niyo na kaya.”
Judith Abil, who did not only emerge as the team’s top scorer but also a do-it-all spiker this season, was also convinced with their improvement through the years.
“Sa akin naman nu’ng pagpasok namin sa UE zero talaga parang pag aalis kami yung talagang (sinabi) sa amin ni coach Karl na kung aalis may maiiwan kami sa UE,” Abil said. “At saka for us kahit tatlo lang ang panalo namin parang sobrang (fulfilled) pa rin kami sa sarili namin na may iiwan kami sa UE.”
Abil revealed that they almost left the team, but every time they were having doubts, they reflect on their purpose in UE.
“Kami lagi kaming nag-uusap, ‘Ano ba ang first reason na pumunta tayo sa UE? Siyempre mag-aral saka maglaro ng UAAP.’ Yun yung kapag nasa dulo na kami na magi-give up yun ang una naming binabalikan,” she said.
Graduating setter Lai Bendong, who also came from Iligan with Arado and Abil, admitted that they had doubts after a winless rookie year.
“Nu’ng first year nga namin aaminin talaga namin na ang hirap, hindi kami sanay na laging talo. Kasi sa amin, nasa champion team kami para sa Palaro, tapos sa Palaro laging nasa Final Four, parang di kami sanay ba?” Bendong said. “Personal chinallenge kami ng coach ko sa high school na, ‘Kung tunay talaga kayong champion kaya nyo ring hawaan ang mga kasama nyo.’
“No regrets talaga ako na nag-UE ako. Saka yung three wins namin nakaka-proud kasi sa batch namin nangyari ang three wins. Aminin na natin na before kung wala naman isa lang,” she added.
From a winless year in Season 77 andcone victory each in seasons 78 and 79, UE had its first back-to-back wins in Season 80 before surpassing it this year with three wins.
The pressure is now on the next generation of Lady Warriors to continue their improvement and UE head coach Karl Dimaculangan that their six graduating players will leave a huge void to the team.
“Sobrang hirap kung ngayon nagstart na tatlong panalo next season naman magstart(over) nanaman ulit kasi iba yung halaga nila sa team,” Dimaculangan said. “Sa game talaga halos dalawa yung libero namin kay Kath at Judith tsaka andyan yung setter ko at leader namin kaya talagang mabigat.”
The seniors smiled and believe that UE is in good hands with Dimaculangan.
“Tiwala kami sa coach totoo naman kasi paano gagalaw yung players kung hindi siya maggaguide ng team,” Baliton said. “Yung sa mga players naman sa mga teammates namin na maiiwan maraming icocorrect pero andoon kasi yung heart nila sa volleyball kumbaga hindi sila maseshaken kung nandoon pa rin yung passion nila.”