When the Easytrip Road Spikers forged a decider last Sunday against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Chu Njigha knew that he needed to step up.
So when the first referee blew his whistle to start the rubber set, Njigha mustered all his strength and carried the Blue Eagles on his back.
The UAAP Season 79 Rookie of the Year scored three quick points to give Ateneo an early 3-1 advantage. And when the Road Spikers were closing in, Njigha fired the differential hits to help the Blue Eagles build a five-point lead.
From there, Njigha went for the jugular, scoring three straight hits once again to close out the match.
The Fil-Nigerian middle blocker wounded up with 25 points built on 15 hits, nine blocks, and an ace. He also poured eight of his points in Ateneo’s 15-point fifth set.
“Siyempre, since meron naman si coach na inassign na go-to-players na when it comes doon sa crucial moments, I just did my job. Tinanggap ko lang yung role ko and nalabas ko naman siguro” said the fourth-year Blue Eagle.
Though it may have wowed some, Njigha’s stellar performance did not come as a surprise for Ateneo head coach Timothy Sto. Tomas. Having groomed Njigha to carry the torch for the Blue Eagles, Sto. Tomas believes that Njigha’s break-out game was bound to happen.
“Ever since naman nilalagay ko na sa mindset ni Chumason yun na he will be the one carrying this team when it matters most kung kailan kailangan ng puntos alam niya na kailangan siya yung magsestep up,” said the second-year bench strategist.
Despite the pressure, Njigha vows to make the best out of the responsibility that’s vested in him. Moreover, he will strive and continue to work hard to finally end Ateneo’s two-year championship hiatus in the UAAP.
“Nakaka ano, kaba and super pressure pero I’m gonna take that pressure and keep on working hard and training kasi siyempre, there’s always gonna be that person who needs to step up when it comes to crucial games and I guess coach is assigning me that role and I’m going to accept that role,” said Njigha.
“Kinig lang sa lahat ng instructions, tiwala sa coaching staff, sa teammates ko tulungan lang naman e. It’s a team so tulungan talaga when it comes sa volleyball.”