Former UAAP stars continue playing volleyball at med school
Mark Escarlote on Jul 17, 2020 11:59 AM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
Even at med school former De La Salle University volleyball star Mika Esperanza along with other UAAP products continue to play the sport.
It may not as be as big as what they were used to back during their days in the collegiate ranks or in the commercial leagues but former players like Esperanza, University of the Philippines’ Kathy Bersola and Pia Gaiser and University of Sto. Tomas' Loren Lantin get to compete in a sports meet among medical schools.
“Nakakatuwa na mayroon din pala kaming sportsfest na ganoon,” Esperanza told ABS-CBN Sports. “Magagaling din po teammates ko. Swerte lang din po ako na may magagaling din po akong teammates.”
Esperanza finished her medical studies at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERM) last Tuesday.
The four-time UAAP champion last played for Cocolife in the Philippine Superliga in 2017.
“Masaya rin po na kahit wala na ako dun sa competitive such as pagiging pro at least nagagawa ko pa rin po talaga ang gusto ko which is volleyball and nasi-share ko rin siya with some people who has the same passion for the sport,” she said.
Volleyball according to Esperanza served as a good respite from the pressure and stress of med school.
“Nakakatuwa na even if sa likod ng pag-aaral, sa oras na ibinubuhos namin para mag-aral at least may iba pang outlet kaya nae-enjoy na rin namin ang med school through volleyball,” said the UAAP Season 73 Rookie of the Year.
In fact, the Lady Spikers alumnae had the same success she had back when she was still playing for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored DLSU squad.
Esperanza duplicated her three-peat in the UAAP from Season 73 to 75 with another grand slam with UERM.
In the same sportsfest, Esperanza got the chance to relive her UAAP days competing against former college rivals Bersola and Lantin.
“I had a chance to play against Loren Lantin of UST and Kathy Bersola po. Nakakatuwa nga rin po kasi parang ano rin UAAP, sila rin po ang nakakalaban namin. Si Ate Loren po sa UST tapos si Kathy sa UP (Manila),” said Esperanza.
If not for the pandemic, Esperanza would’ve gotten a chance to equal her four titles in the UAAP playing alongside Gaiser.
“Dapat po this year I’m playing with Pia Gaiser this year kasi po nag-UERM din po siya,” she said. “Nakakatuwa lang din po kasi sila ‘yung dati naming nakakalaban tapos nagkikita pa rin po kami sa med school.”
Esperanza’s team defeated Lantin’s squad for her first title and booted out Bersola’s UP in the semis in 2018 and 2019.
“Nakakatuwa na kahit nasa med school na kami nakakapaglaro pa rin kami,” said Esperanza. “Siguro po ‘di ganoon ka-competitive like UAAP pero siyempre nandoon pa rin po ang competitiveness namin [na dating UAAP players] pagdating sa volleyball.”
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