Urdas feels she’s not in top form yet
ABS-CBN Sports on May 22, 2017 09:09 PM
Aiko Sweet Urdas prepares to serve beside her Balipure coach Roger Gorayeb. Saturday last she served up her marketing diploma to her parents whose only wish was for her to finish her studies in National University, never mind if she keeps all her earnings from playing commercial volleyball to herself. (Photo by Justine Dizon)
Aiko Sweet Urdas may still be dissatisfied with her reliable efficiency on the court, but on Saturday, May 20, she brought indescribable satisfaction to her family in the volleyball-playing town of Umengan in Pangasinan.
On that day farmer Wilbert Urdas and wife Nilda with other daughter Irish brimmed with pride as they watched firstborn Aiko march up the stage of the SMX International Convention Center with fellow graduates from National University to receive her diploma in Business Administration as a marketing major.
“I felt relieved when I finally got hold of my diploma,” said the 20-year-old utility spiker who still has one playing year left for the Lady Bulldogs in the UAAP. “To finish my studies was the only thing my parents wanted of me. Until now they keep refusing to share my earnings from playing commercial volleyball. They told me that being able to study for free in a school in Manila was already a great burden taken off their shoulders.”
She intends to enroll again so she will be able to play out her fifth and final year in the UAAP where for two straight seasons, the Lady Bulldogs failed to crash into the Final Four.
Competing for the Balipure Water Defenders in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference organized by Sports Vision with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball will, according to Urdas, further toughen her up for her last grind in the next UAAP season.
“I hope to be in top form when the next UAAP season rolls around. Playing with and against foreign players in the PVL is doing a lot of help for my game. When I graduate from the UAAP, I want to be remembered as having played a key role in, God willing, NU’s return to the Final Four and hopefully to the finals as well.”
Already, she’s made great contributions to the Water Defenders’ production as Balipure keeps its firm hold of the six-team leadership with six wins and two losses.
She doesn’t begrudge it that when the foreign reinforcements from the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia were finally allowed to play starting May 18, she has yet to start for the Water Defenders.
On May 21 though, coach Roger Gorayeb called her to immediate duty midway in the first set against former tormentor Perlas Spikers to replace a faltering Jerrili Malabanan. Setter Jasmine Nabor at once set her up for a kill, a crisp cross-court that cleanly evaded the blocking hands of two Perlas Spikers including Brazilian Rupia Inck.
She went on to score on two more times from the same spot, the right end of the net, in the same set, amassing a total of 12 points to help the Water Defenders avenge their first-round defeat to the Perlas Spikers in a marathon cliffhanger, 25-21, 25-23, 16-25, 25-27, 15-10.
While many were ready to commend her for that last performance, Urdas wasn’t that happy though. She felt after that draining thriller that her game still lacks the edge she wants.
“I thought I could have scored more. I’m really not in my best form yet.”
She readily quashed speculations that she was still holding back in her game as a result of her nine-month recovery from an ACL surgery in 2014.
“It took me a year after the long recovery period to start playing without fear that the injury might recur. But I’m still finding my performance lacking.”
To get back to her peak, she said she’s exerting extra effort in her training.