Katherine Villegas reborn
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 30, 2016 09:15 PM
Mas may kumpiyansa po ako sa sarili ko ngayon, mas matapang -- Katherine Villegas
Katherine Villegas, the five-foot-10, 21-year-old middle blocker of San Sebastian College-Recoletos, says she’s playing differently now.
“Mas may kumpiyansa po ako sa sarili ko ngayon, mas matapang,” she declares.
And volleyball fans note that her middle attacks, rather weak and less accurate before, pack more power now and more reliability.
The former basketball player and judoka from Concepcion Elementary School in Talisay City is very happy that she’ll be able to contribute more to the scoring production of the Lady Stags come her fifth and final playing year in the upcoming NCAA volleyball season.
“Feeling ko lang po kaya ko nang makapagsabayan sa malalakas na middle attackers ng ibang team sa NCAA. Biglang nawala ang pagkakimi ko at kaba kapag naglalaro. Nagtataka nga po ang setter ko at biglang humihingi na ako ng set sa kanya,” she said.
Slim but sharp and fit, Villegas is referring to the way she’s playing now for the Lady Stags in the ongoing Shakey’s V-League Season 13-Collegiate Conference, a blockbuster production of Sports Vision in cooperation with official outfitter Accel and official ball Mikasa. She minces no words in saying that the rise in the level of her game was brought about by her stint with Team Laoag in the Open Conference which started V-League hostilities this year.
Team Laoag coach Nes Pamilar himself said he was happy to have helped developed Villegas into a more powerful and accurate middle hitter. “Mahiyain pa ‘yan noong una pero nang lumaon nakikipagsabayan na sa mga teammates. Madaling turuan, nakikinig sa coach, at walang ere.”
SSC coach Roger Gorayeb has acknowledged the change in Villegas’ game, the reason why for the V-League Open Conference he had agreed to loan out some of his players to other teams.
Villegas vows to go all out on her final year in the NCAA.
“Last year na po namin pareho ni Ate Greth (Soltones) sa papasok na NCAA volleyball season. Lagi po kaming nag-uusap na sana bago kami gumradweyt ay mabigyan namin ng isang championship ang Baste (SSC). Sabi po ni Ate Greth pagtatrabahuhin namin iyon.”
She dreams many dreams
Besides winning a title for her school, Villegas also sets her sight on getting her diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management, landing a stable job after school to be able to help out her family, and saving up so she can establish her own restaurant. She bids fair to complete her HRM studies this school year.
As long as she’s able, she wants to continue playing as well.
“Gusto ko pong pagsabayin ang pagtatrabaho at paglalaro hanggang kaya ng katawan. Mahirap iwan ang volleyball kapag andoon ka na.”
Representing her elementary school in Talisay City, Villegas played basketball and judo in the provincial meets. While she was a junior in Don Hilarion High School also in Talisay, she was forced to learn volleyball after her peers repeatedly jeered her for her ineptness in the sport despite her tallness.
“Sa asar ko sa tropa, bumili ako ng sariling bola sa volleyball, nagpraktis na mag-isa, nag-walling,” says Villegas, who on her senior year left her other sports and concentrated in volleyball, made the high school team, and even the Western Visayas AA delegation that proceeded to compete in the Palarong Pambansa that year.
Until now, Villegas feels especially proud of being named to that WVAA selection for the Palaro. Some of her teammates on that regional team – Bernadeth Pons now of Far Eastern University, Kim Gequillana and Gizelle Tan of Ateneo, and Arielle Estranero of University of the Philippines – are also making names in the UAAP.
The athletes’ genes run deep in the Villegas family of Talisay City.
Villegas says her father and four brothers and lone sister all played varsity basketball, hence her natural attraction to basketball. Her father also tried basketball coaching. Her sister was a member of Adamson’s basketball team.