Arellano University setter Sarah Verutiao didn’t disappoint in her debut for the defending champion Lady Chiefs Thursday in the 93rd NCAA women’s volleyball competition at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Head coach Obet Javier gave the transferee from University of Sto. Tomas full playmaking chores as he rested injured Season 91 Best Setter award winner Rhea Ramirez in the Lady Chiefs’ 25-10, 25-17, 25-13, crushing of Mapua University.
Verutiao had 28 excellent sets in Arellano’s 46 attack points while adding six markers in her first game in the NCAA since bolting out of UST two years ago.
“Sinusubukan ko si Sarah, si Rhea pahinga muna,” said Javier. “So hangga’t kaya ni Sara siya muna pero pag di na kaya saka na namin ipapasok si Rhea. Bibigyan ko ng playing time muna si Verutiao ngayon.”
Verutiao was thankful for the trust given to him by Javier and the exposure she never had when she last played for the Tigresses in the UAAP Season 77 as an alternate for starter Alex Cabanos. Verutiao failed to make the cut for UST the following season.
“Siguro sabi nga niya lahat ng nangyayari may dahilan. Siyempre sobrang thankful ako sa ibinigay na tiwala hindi lang ni coach pati sa mga teammates ko,” said Verutiao.
Ramirez, the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference Best Setter, sustained a left shoulder injury Wednesday during team practice. She spent Arellano’s first game on the bench.
With Ramirez sidelined, Verutiao will fill in the role as the Lady Chiefs’ court general.
“Hangga’t hindi pa kaya ni Rhea na ikilos ng maayos balikat niya siguro in the meantime ako muna,” said Verutiao, who added that she wanted to make a good first impression when her number was called by Javier.
“Sinabi ko na ito na ‘to. Ito na ang pagkakataon ko na maglaro,” she said.
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