UAAP VOLLEYBALL: That was crazy -- Gaston on playing libero

UAAP VOLLEYBALL: That was crazy -- Gaston on playing libero
Talagang 'yung focus ko lang is to do my job, and to make my teammates happy -- Ponggay Gaston

Ponggay Gaston is always ready to heed the call to step up for Ateneo de Manila University.

Yes, even if it meant wearing the libero uniform.

Lady Eagles coach Tai Bundit, needing stability on their floor defense, converted the utility as defense specialist and it worked wonders for Ateneo as they snapped Far Eastern University’s four-game winning streak with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-17, victory to open the second round of the 80th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.     

“Sobrang malaking factor kasi ginawang libero si Ponggay kasi matigas 'yung arms, I guess, tsaka mas nakaka-receive siya,” said team captain Maddie Madayag. “Maganda 'yung receives today. Konti lang ang errors namin and everything.”

Ponggay, who skipped the Lady Eagles four-set loss to archrival two-time defending champion De La Salle University last Saturday because of a sprained left ankle, was informed of her new role just a day before their rematch against their first round tormentor.

“Yesterday lang, as in yesterday lang sinabi ni coach Tai, nag-training kami ng libero,” said Gaston, who had seven excellent reception as she shared the libero duty with Ria Lo.

It was a new challenge for the bubbly Lady Eagle especially with Ateneo going up against the same team that rained 20 aces in their first meeting.  But Gaston embraced the role to help her team win their fifth win in eight games tied with their victim.

“Well kasi I have a sprain, so iniisip ko na lang na 'yun na lang ang trabaho ko, mag-receive. At saka dumepensa kung kaya,” she said. “Pero 'yun na lang ang iniisip ko kasi I don't have to jump. Talagang 'yung focus ko lang is to do my job, and to make my teammates happy.”

Her transition according to Gaston was not that difficult as she’s used to play different roles depending on the need of the team.

She played middle when she was still playing for University of Sto. Tomas high school. In Ateneo, she played open spiker, utility and middle.

“Um, yeah that was crazy. Siguro kasi when I got to Ateneo na, sobrang nagbago na ‘yung position ko. I'm just used to changing all the time in training,” she said. “Parang tanggap lang ng tanggap ng kahit anong binibigay ni Coach Tai, kasi siya naman ang may alam kung anong maganda sa team.”

“So instead of complaining or iniisip ko na, ‘shucks nahihirapan ako’. Iniisip ko na lang na siguro kaya ko kaya siguro binibigay ni Coach Tai ng palit-palit ng position -- open, uti, middle,” said Gaston. “Kasi hindi naman ako first six, so my job is to help the first six, and if it means be ready for any position, pumasok ka, gawin mo 'yung trabaho mo. Yun ang iniisip ko.”




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