The stats sheet might have just recorded 38 excellent sets, but it looked like Jia Morado had 60 when she led the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles’s drubbing of Katipunan neighbors University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
Her full repertoire was on full display during the game: the one-handed jump set, the kneeling underhand set to the other side of the court, the running stiff delivery off a wild dig, and her signature fadeaway set to the middle hitter. At one point, Morado had a string of consecutive one-hand deliveries.
These aren’t just lucky sets. Morado still manages to deliver the ball almost perfectly with apparent ease no matter her position on the court or the quality of the first touch. She has pulled off sets never before seen on local shores.
Even Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Menses, a former setter for the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, was in awe of Morado’s prowess.
“Siyempre, meron talagang mga players na pinanganak na ganoon eh,” Meneses gushed.
“Totoo, kasi noong nag-aaral din ako hindi naman ako ganoon kagaling kasi ‘yung instinct ng setter talaga, iba ang kay Jia. Nakikita ko talaga kahit pangit ang receive, kaya niyang pagandahin eh. So ‘yun ‘yung may instinct siya talaga na isang block lagi sobrang galing niya.”
Ateneo middle hitter Bea De Leon credits Morado for keeping Ateneo’s offense the best in the league.
“That’s just Jia being good,” De Leon said when asked about her and her setter’s seamless chemistry.
“Grabe kasi siya. Sobrang galing talaga. It’s not even her just setting it that way kasi ‘yun na lang ‘yung kaya niya. Lahat talaga ng movement niya pinag-iisipan niya. It’s great kasi almost 100 percent nang mga bola dumadaan sa kanya.”
On her part, Morado credits her teammates’ work on the first touch and spiking for making her look good.
“Volleyball is a team sport nga parang lahat kami may kanya-kanyang role, so kailangan mag-function ako as setter para makalaro ang team.
“Pero siyempre hindi rin ako makaka-function kung hindi gagawin ng iba ang trabaho nila. So as much as possible lahat kami nagtutulungan,” the 21-year-old skipper said.
When someone like Morado makes setting look like art, do stats even matter?
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