UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball: Rookie Tracker

Mark Escarlote on Feb 18, 2019 07:51 PM
UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball: Rookie Tracker
Here's a look at how rookies fared in the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament opening weekend.

The opening weekend of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament showed us a glimpse of what's to come.

It also put newcomers in the most-awaited second semester sport of the league under the microscope and scrutiny of avid collegiate volleyball fans.

Some lived up to the pre-season hype while some still have a lot of time to bounce back and prove their worth with their respective teams.

Here’s a quick look at how these rookies fared in their debuts.



Eya Laure is probably one of the much-talked about recruits during the pre-season. The younger Laure in her first stint in the collegiate ranks gave University of Sto. Tomas extra firepower to help graduating hitter Sisi Rondina.

Laure introduced herself Sunday with 17 points coming off 13 kills, three kill blocks and an ace in the Tigresses’ five-set win over Adamson University.



Inheriting the no. 2 jersey worn by former Far Eastern University’s scoring leader Bernadeth Pons could mean a lot of pressure. Freshman Lycha Ebon got the jersey because it was the only number left.

But, Ebon showed that she too can make a mark in FEU by scoring a team-high 13 points, coming off nine spikes and four aces, with four excellent receptions for an all-around effort in the Lady Tams’ four-set win over National University.



Head coach Ramil De Jesus kept the competition guessing during the off-season when he opted not to field his full team in any pre-season league.

Then, he surprised everyone with his prized recruit from Bulacan in Jolina Dela Cruz. The Palarong Pambansa product dropped 11 points in her baptism of fire to help the Lady Spikers shoot down archrival Ateneo de Manila University in four sets to open their four-peat bid.

She had an impressive performance but De Jesus said that Dela Cruz played with just 60% of her full potential. Yup, that’s just 60%.     



National University is a rebuilding team after the departure of 6-foot-5 and last year’s Most Valuable Player Jaja Santiago and other key players including veterans that either skipped the season or failed to meet the eligibility requirements.

Six-foot-2 Ivy Lacsina took the role as leader of the young Lady Bulldogs and in her first game in the collegiate ranks made an instant impact with 14 points – all from attacks – in a lost cause against FEU.



With Jasmine Nabor opting to skip the season, Joyme Cagande got the starting spot as NU’s playmaker. Well, actually she’s the only setter in this Lady Bulldogs batch.

The three-time UAAP girls division Best Setter turned a lot of heads with her playmaking in NU’s opening day match, connecting very well with other young hitters.

Unfortunately, Cagande sustained a knee injury in the third set of her debut against FEU and could miss a few games. Cagande tallied 15 excellent sets and two points.

Get well soon, Joyme.



Adamson University found a replacement to Fhen Emnas, who graduated last year, in Nikka Yandoc.

The rookie setter tallied 34 excellent sets to help the Lady Falcons fire 41 attacks in a five-set loss to UST.

Yandoc’s playmaking reflected in the Lady Falcons’ balanced scoring with four players finishing in double figures. She also scored four points.



Rookie jitters hit Vanessa Gandler hard.

The Ateneo de Manila University freshman was one of the pre-season favorites to give Eya Laure a run for her money in the Rookie of the Year race after good showing in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

With that, it was all but natural for coach Oliver Almadro to field Gandler as a starter alongside veterans like Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon against archrival DLSU.

But Gandler went cold the whole match as the Lady Spikers dismantled the Lady Eagles in four sets. The De La Salle-Zobel recruit at least avoided a scoreless debut as she finished with one point.



Jaja Maraguinot had the right motivation when head coach Almadro called her number to replace struggling Deanna Wong.

The younger sister of former Lady Eagle Jho immediately buckled down to business and introduced herself with good connections with Ateneo’s hitters.

Maraguinot outshone her senior teammate by tallying 13-of-45 excellent sets on top of two points.

She showed a lot of promise with her playmaking despite the obvious struggles of the Lady Eagles with their first ball.



Veterans Isa Molde and Tots Carlos, as expected, owned the spotlight in University of the Philippines' five set escape over University of the East but rookies Lorie Bernardo and Rem Altomea gave considerable contributions for the Lady Maroons' cause.

Bernardo scored five points in four sets of action and gave UP a lift on defense at the net in the deciding frame while libero Altomea helped man the floor with 18 digs. 


These rookies may have impressed or have fallen short of expectations in their debuts but with still 13 games left in the elimination, we can expect more from these fresh faces looking to make an impact for their respective teams.

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