UAAP junior players feel important following move to have them play under international conditions as well

ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 26, 2017 03:47 PM
We feel important -- UAAP high school players
FEU girls coach Rei Diaz with team captain Mary Martha Louise Mora (No. 11) and reserve player Jennifer Malabanan (left photo). Right photo shows UST setter Maji Mangulabnan with dad Jude.

We feel important.

That’s the unanimous sentiment expressed by the UAAP high school volleyball team captains and players as a result of the collaboration among the UAAP board, this year’s host Far Eastern University, sub-host National University and Sports Vision to have the junior teams play this year at the same high-standard venue as their senior counterparts.

“Blessed at thankful po ako na bago kami gumradweyt ng mga ka-batch ko sa UAAP ay nakapaglaro kami sa magandang court at venue,” said Far Eastern University girls team captain Mary Martha Louise Mora. “Para kaming napakaimportanteng players ngayon kahit high school pa lang kami.”

Previously relegated to competing in school gyms, the junior squads in UAAP 80 have begun playing where their seniors have done over the years -- on aTaraflex-surfaced court and in an air-conditioned venue to the immense delight of the participants’ parents.

Far Eastern University girls coach Rei Diaz cited the security and health factors of the new playing conditions while a parent of a very promising setter from University of Santo Tomas talked of the players’ families now enjoying the games in the comfort of an air-conditioned venue.

Following UAAP 80 host FEU’s designation of NU to stage the league’s competitions in high school volleyball, Sports Vision has volunteered its organizational skills to NU to run the junior tournaments in both divisions.

Sports Vision, the same outfit which organized the hugely successful series of V Leagues, has been inserting the junior games into its Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference’s Monday and Saturday programs every week at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City. 

“That’s a masterful stroke,” said Jude Mangulabnan, father of UST setter Maji Mangulabnan, of the junior games being held between PVL matches. “Not only do parents and families of the players watch the games now without sweating; they also see their children being exposed to the PVL’s high level of collegiate competition. Seeing how their seniors, their idols play will, I’m sure, further motivate these boys and girls to play their best every game.”

Coach Diaz, who mentors the FEU Tamaraws as well, said that having the juniors play in a big venue also addresses the security factor during games. “Previously when we were playing only in school gyms, the players were always thinking of the things they left behind in the locker rooms. Nagsa-suffer tuloy ang kanilang konsentrasyon sa laro.”

The best thing, though, he added, is that a Taraflex-covered court minimizes the risk of players getting injured. “Makapit sa sapatos ang Taraflex, hindi ka basta madudulas. Saka ina-absorb nito ang impact ng pag-landing ng player mula sa pagtalon, napoprotektahan ang tuhod.” 

 

What the others say

Here’s what they further say of the UAAP move to have the juniors enjoy the same venue as their seniors.

Kaycee Galdona, UE girls team captain: “Advantage po na maglaro sa ganitong klaseng court, nakaka-inspire sa aming mga players. Pero para sa akin, kahit sa anong klaseng court ka maglaro ang mahalaga ay ibigay ang best mo sa bawat laro.”

Lorenz Senoron, UST boys team captain and last season’s Best Opposite Hitter: “Great opportunity po na maglaro sa ganitong kagandang venue. Mas maraming tao ang maeengganyong sumuporta sa junior volleyball dahil air-conditioned ang paglalaruan, hindi mainit at hindi sila magpapawis.”

Kenneth Cawaling, 15, a rookie also of UST from Sultan Kudarat: “Nakakatuwa po na sa unang laro ko sa Manila para sa UST, colorful ang court at may latag na goma. Wow!”

Clark Fernandez, FEU boys team captain from Bacolod City: “Ito ang dream namin, ang makapaglaro sa court na may Taraflex. Nakaka-excite na maglaro sa ganitong klase ng court. Sobrang lawak, nakakapanibago.

Lerma Giron, new head coach of the UE girls: “Ito ang magandang pag-a-uprade sa UAAP junior volleyball. It certainly boosts the players’ confidence to be playing on a court up to international standards.

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