UAAP Season 82: Stronger, bolder NU Lady Bulldogs
Mark Escarlote on Feb 08, 2020 03:43 PM
A more mature National University Lady Bulldogs pack will see action in the UAAP Season 82. (Arvin Lim)
National University will be bringing in the experience it lacked last year when the Lady Bulldogs step into battle in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament.
Last season was a learning experience for the young Lady Bulldogs.
NU brought in a fine crop of rookies but had to face a lot of adversities from coaching changes a month before the tournament, missing the services of key players, losing its only legit setter just a game into the season to a knee injury, to inconsistency due to lack of experience.
Still, NU managed to finish with four wins in 14 games including a shocking head-to-head elims sweep over a seasoned University of the Philippines crew.
Now backed with the valuable experience from last year, the Lady Bulldogs aim higher and are brimming with confidence heading into the season.
“[Ngayon] mas organized, mas nagkaroon ng goal talaga,” said sophomore libero Jen Nierva. “Nagkaroon din kami ng benchmark from Season 81 so from there kung ano ang i-improve na lang namin and kung ano ang things that we need to maintain as well.”
Having exposed to playing in the UAAP, NU’s young guns are coming in with more confidence.
“Parang na-fe-feel namin na mas pressure pa rin yung last year kasi rookie kami and wala namang inaasahang iba kundi kami,” said Lacsina. “Ngayon same routine, siguro nadagdagan lang po ng mga dapat gawin, pero mas na-control po namin ang pressure ngayon kasi alam na namin kung ano ang mga dapat gawin.”
Although NU will miss the services of last year’s scoring leader in Princess Robles (personal reasons) and setter Joyme Cagande suffering another knee injury, the Lady Bulldogs remain to be a very competitive team that could give other squads a run for their money. NU also saw the departure of Season 81 1st Best Middle Blocker Roselyn Doria.
Aside from Nierva and Lacsina, back in the fold for the Norman Miguel-mentored squad are Gelina Luceno and veterans Audrey Paran and Joni Chavez.
The Lady Bulldogs also welcome the return of reliable middle Risa Sato after skipping last season because of academic issues and will introduce 6-foot-2 open spiker Margot Mutshima Kabasu of Congo as well as a new playmaker in Renee Mabilangan.
“Hopefully, I think naman mas dadami ang panalo pero hindi mo pa rin masasabi kasi bilog ang bola di ba? Pero kung ano ang control namin is ang sarili namin so yun mas magtatrabaho kami ngayon,” said Nierva.
“Lalo na ngayon na mayroon kaming mas maraming bala,” she added. “Nand’yan si Ate Risa, may import kami, Ivy, Audrey, Joni Chavez and may mga rookies. Happy kasi may mga taong tutulong talaga.”
EYES ON YOU:
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
The return of seasoned team captain Risa Sato gives the NU faithful something to look forward to.
But all eyes are fixed on foreign student-athlete Margot Mutshima Kabasu, who brings in added ceiling and firepower for the Lady Bulldogs.
At 6-foot-2, the Congolese open spiker, who is taking up BS PE Sports and Wellness Management, is expected to fill up the scoring void left by Princess Robles.
“I just want to play my best for my team. I feel no pressure at all,” said the confident 20-year old freshman.
Focus will also be given to setter Renee Mabilangan, who will have a tall task of utilizing to the fullest NU’s arsenal for a legitimate shot at a spot in the Final Four after missing the cut last year.
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