Just a few years ago, the troika of Faith Nisperos, Thea Gagate, and Roma Mae Doromal suited up for Nazareth School-National University, collecting titles in the UAAP high school landscape.
On Saturday, the three shared the court once again.
This time around, though, it was in the collegiate scene of the UAAP. Nisperos and Doromal were wearing blue and white for Ateneo, while Gagate donned green and white for La Salle.
The reunion of the three happened in the middle of an intense clash of perennial rivals. And when the dust settled, the towering Gagate got the last laugh as the young pair of Lady Eagles were left heartbroken.
In hindsight, Gagate couldn’t help noticing that the atmosphere brought about by the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry had gotten into them.
“Nakita ko ‘yung tension namin,” admitted the 6-foot-2 La Salle middle blocker. “Kasi tinitignan ko sila tapos sila nakatingin din sa akin.”
She then continued with a smile, “Hindi, hindi [kami nag usap]. Ayaw ata nila makipag-usap sa akin, hindi ko alam.”
Having been allies before, Gagate has come to know the tendencies of Nisperos on the offensive end. Admittedly, that was a big help in the match.
“Yeah. Since like, siyempre naging teammates kami for three years din, so parang medyo alam ko na ‘yung galaw ni Faith,” confided Gagate, who had 10 points built on five blocks.
For her part, Nisperos — who had 13 markers — believes the same.
“Yeah, I think so [naging factor na former teammates]. Well, I think advantage siya kasi we have something na we’re both aware of kung ano ang kilos namin,” the Ateneo neophyte said.
“But then again, of course, ang tagal naming ‘di nagsama, [so] there are things na we’ve improved on.”
Having shared time on the court, it’s not a stretch to say that the three made history together. But from this point onward, people will come to remember them as rivals thrust into the spotlight of the collegiate scene more than their stellar runs in high school.
And these teammates-turned-rivals are undeniably raring to go for another collision come the second round.