Young UE Red Warriors ready to put up a fight in UAAP Season 82

Santino Honasan on Feb 07, 2020 02:55 PM
Young UE Red Warriors ready to put up a fight in UAAP 82
“Hindi na yung UE last year na kapag may laro kami, easy win na. Iba na yung taon ngayon. Hindi kami magpa-promise, pero papakita namin na iba na yung UE ngayon,” - Al-John Abalon (Photos: Arvin Lim)

The University of the East Red Warriors will likely be parading the youngest lineup in the upcoming UAAP Season 82 Men’s Volleyball tournaments, and that’s because they’re going to be made up mainly sophomores and rookies.

This is the result of seniors like Noel Alba, Geric Ortega, Clifford Inoferio, Kim Adriano, and Danilo Ernacio Jr. among others forgoing their final year of eligibility.

With the exodus of the veterans, the responsibility of leading this young and hungry Red Warriors team falls on the shoulders of a pair sophomores in team captain Al-John Abalon and co-captain Lloyd Josafat.

“Nung nalaman namin na yung mga seniors namin hindi na lalaruin yung last playing year nila, nag-adjust kami, nag-usap kami na we need to accept the reality na kami na lang yung matitira,” Abalon told ABS-CBN Sports.

“Syempre, as yung mga natira nga sa amin na nakakatanda, binigyan kami ng challenge nila coach na i-lead yung team para sa darating na season,” Josafat added.

While it wasn’t exactly the most ideal situation for the young Red Warriors, this is the hand that they have been dealt. For Abalon, there’s little choice but to accept this challenge and use it as a tool for personal development.

“Ako, yung ginawa ko lang kumbaga, kasi yung nangyari namin sa past, tinake namin as positive para sa pagdating sa amin wala nang pressure, na in a calm way kaya naming i-lead yung team namin, tapos magbibigay kami ng positive thoughts kasi nga ayun na yung sitwasyon ng team namin.”

“Ayun nga, so kami yung mga pinaka-matanda, pinapakita talaga namin sa kanila na kaya namin, na magtutulungan kami kahit puro kami bata sa team, na walang maiiwan, walang bibitaw agad. Kami yung nagsisilbing taga-angat sa team pag nada-down sila,” Josaphat added.

Just a year removed from their rookie campaigns, Abalon and Josafat find themselves thrust into leadership positions very early in their UAAP careers. While they know that it’s going to be far from easy, they two 20-year olds are ready and willing to fulfil those roles.

“Yung binibigay lang din ng coaches namin, kumbaga ina-apply na lang din namin sa training tapos if ever may pagkukulang yung rookies, siyempre kailangan namin mag-give ng advice para lang mapunan yung pagkukulang na yun,” said Abalon.

Experience, of course, will be one of the biggest obstacles for this young team, and with six rookies on board, Abalon and Josafat are still figuring out how to manage everyone.

“Napapansin namin talaga na yung mga bata, hindi pa nga tumitibay yung loob, kasi nga fresh grad sila, so kaming mga nauna na, kumbaga tine-test namin sila na wag laging pinapa-iral yung emotion, yung attitude kasi nga hindi naman sa lahat ng bagay dinadaan sa galit,” said Abalon.

“Sa training, tina-try namin na i-control yung emotions namin, kasi, ayun nga, mga bata, madaling mainis, madaling mawala sa laro, and ang sinasabi sa amin ni coach is i-practice din yung emotions, i-handle namin yung emotions namin kasi nga minsan, yung emotions namin mas nakaka-sira sa laro namin,” Josafat stated.

“Sa team namin ngayon medyo minsan mahirap na rin kasi nga ang titigas ng mga ulo kasi puro mga bata, mahirap pagsabihan, so nag-uusap kaming dalawa na ganito, ganyan yung gagawin, ipa-intindi sa kanila na hindi na tayo bata, nasa college na tayo,” he continued.

Coming off a seventh-place finish that saw them win just twice in 14 matches, the Red Warriors are keeping their goals pretty straightforward: no pressure of making the Final Four, just playing their best every game.

“For me, every game, hindi muna namin iniisip na mag-rereach kami sa Final Four, kumbaga, on process kami na one game at a time para wala rin sa aming pressure pagdating ng huli.”

Both Abalon and Josafat are eager to see a hungry and motivated Red Warriors team that’s ready to fight day in and day out.

“Gusto ko makita yung palaban na UE, na kahit na puro bata kami sa team, yung lumalaban na UE Red Warriors, yung bagong UE na hindi basta-basta,” said Josafat.

“Hindi na yung UE last year na kapag may laro kami, easy win na. Iba na yung taon ngayon. Hindi kami magpa-promise, pero papakita namin na iba na yung UE ngayon,” Abalon concluded.

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