UAAP 82: Mutshima makes noise in National U debut - with a little help from Nierva

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 04, 2020 04:14 PM
Mutshima makes noise in NU debut - with help from Nierva
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

Margot Mutshima introduced herself big-time in the UAAP 82 Women's Volleyball Tournament with a 23-point outburst in National University's five-set triumph over University of Sto. Tomas.

The Congolese open hitter, without a doubt, stole the show in a match-up that saw the returns of Risa Sato and EJ Laure as well as the second season of Eya Laure.

Mutshima built up her output from spikes and serves as she tallied 20 kills and three aces to tow the Lady Bulldogs to an upset of the fancied Golden Tigresses.

She wouldn't have been able to do so, however, if not for a helping hand by Jen Nierva.

As it turns out, it's the libero who understands the foreign student-athlete, who is just in the process of learning both English and Tagalog, best of all.

That is why Nierva's is the voice that is in Mutshima's ear most of the time. Asked about their conversations, the former answered, "In English po, in barok English. It's like this, 'Margot, understand. Margot, you spike hard.'"

Of course, the second-year defensive specialist, indeed, took it upon herself to become the bridge to their super spiker. "Ako po yung pinaka-vocal sa team and ako po yung libero so kailangan, magkaroon ako ng connection sa spiker ko. Very important na magkaroon sila ng tiwala sa akin," she shared.

She then continued, "Once they're connected to me, once alam nilang nasa likod lang nila ako, wala nang doubt na lalabas yung laro nila."

Even better, Nierva took on that challenge head-on from the very moment Mutshima arrived in Jhocson St. "Nag-try po talaga akong mag-aral ng basic French so lagi ko po siyang gini-greet dati, 'Margot, bonjour.' Sabi niya nun, parang, 'Oh, you know French,'" the former recalled.

She then continued, "'Di naman sinabi sa akin (ng coaches and teammates) na gawin ko dapat yun, pero ginawa ko yun kasi nakaka-help talaga e. Kaya ngayon, pag may gusto siyang sabihin, sa akin siya agad pumupunta."

Make no mistake, however, all of National U is going out of their way to help out their 6-foot-2 teammate. "Ako po, sa training, sinasabi ko lang sa kanya lagi, 'Margot, smile. Happy-happy. You look at me,'" team captain Risa Sato shared.

And with that, the Lady Bulldogs are only expecting bigger and bigger things from Mutshima. As Nierva put it, "Sa tingin niyo po very good game na yan, pero madami pa po siyang ipapakita. Very happy ako sa game niya today, pero madami pa yan."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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