It’s a cliché, but Jia Morado means it: she would rather have championships than individual awards.
Morado, who stands at 5-foot-7, makes a living out of making other people look good. Her sets – some of the most picturesque actions in local volleyball – ultimately do not matter unless her teammates kill the ball.
Arguably, no one makes spikers better than Jia Morado. But she knows that volleyball is beyond individual success, and that winning volleyball games takes more than setting brilliance.
When she received the Reinforced Conference Best Setter trophy early on Wednesday afternoon, the 23-year-old flashed a hesitant smile, her mind still fully focused on Game Two of the Finals.
When Creamline finally bagged the title after another one of her master classes in setting, Morado was in genuine disbelief when she was told that she was hailed the Finals Most Valuable Player.
For her, individual awards don’t capture the essence of volleyball – a team sport harshly dependent on weaving individual skills into a fluid team action.
“Mas na-feel ko yung championship talaga, bonus na lang yung individual awards talaga forever.
“‘Yung championship naman talaga ‘yung goal,” Morado declared, as she lifted her first club championship.
Morado is always focused on fostering her symbiotic relationship with her teammates – tweaking her connections with each teammate in practice so they manifest seamlessly in the games.
Like a point guard in basketball, Morado functions as Creamline’s coach on the court.
“MVP naman siya palagi eh. May coach kami sa loob, hindi niyo ba alam? Siya yun,” Creamline’s captain Alyssa Valdez said of her longtime teammate.
“When it comes to playing inside the court and training, pantay kami lahat no matter how senior or how young you are, pantay-pantay kami ng respeto sa isa’t isa.
“And we really have faith in the capabilities ng teammates namin. Parang kanina, everyone is a leader inside the court, but we all know when to speak, when to listen, and that really helped us,” she closed.