UAAP Season 81: Atin ‘to. Amin ‘to

Mark Escarlote on Feb 11, 2019 11:43 PM
UAAP Season 81: Atin ‘to. Amin ‘to
Noong naka-Finals sila (UP men's basketball team) ang sabi namin, “Ay, patay! Magi-expect din ang mga tao this volleyball season naman.' -- Ayel Estranero

Ayel Estranero and Tots Carlos knew they’re in for a tough challenge when University of the Philippines men’s basketball team star Paul Desiderio nailed the game-winning jumper in the Final Four against the twice-to-beat Adamson University.

That was UP basketball’s ‘Atin ‘to’ moment.

Right after the final buzzer sounded that signaled UP’s first Finals appearance in the UAAP’s first semester centerpiece event after 32 years, the Lady Maroons already felt the pressure of high expectations when it’s their time to march inside the court and carry the State University’s pride in women’s volleyball.      

“Their journey is totally inspiring,” said Estranero, who is in her fifth and last playing year, of the Fighting Maroons’ runner-up finish in the cagefest.

“Pero ‘yun nga noong naka-Finals sila ang sabi namin, “Ay, patay! Magi-expect din ang mga tao this volleyball season naman,’” the setter added.

Carlos shared the same sentiment.

“’Yun nga ang mga success ng UP motivation sa amin pero at the same time pressure talaga,” said Carlos, who with Isa Molde are expected to deliver the goods for the Godfrey Okumu-mentored squad. “Lagi lang namin nire-remind ang mga tao, sabi nila ‘O basketball tapos na, volleyball naman.’ ‘Yun minsan napag-uusapan namin. Minsan nagti-team talk kami na ‘wag namin isipin ‘yun, isipin namin ang ilalaro namin this season. ‘Wag naming i-cut short to the result of the season. One game at a time.”

The UP faithful have all the right to expect high especially with the Lady Maroons making waves of their own during the pre-season.

UP reigned supreme in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference and Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam. Those twin crowns were UP’s first major titles after ruling the UAAP 36 years ago. 

“Of course, it affects how people want us to perform. People also dream big for us. Of course, they’re dreaming for us to be in the Finals and win the championship especially we won two championships in the offseason,” said Estranero. “So high expectations from other people, high expectations from the team but I guess we just have to trust the process and take it game by game.”

The playmaker could only hope that the lessons they learned in the offseason will carry them to greater heights in the UAAP. 

“I can say that the offseason din naman was a big help in terms of learning how to win and in terms of developing our skills individually but it wasn’t something that will actually define UAAP. Coming into this season it’s a new start for all of us,” she said.

“We’re more confident. There’s more pressure but there’s a lot of hope and passion to win a championship,” said Estranero.

Now, it's the Lady Maroons’ time to create their own ‘Atin ‘to’ moment.

 

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles

 

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