With a breakthrough win well within sight for Jose Rizal University late in its curtain-raiser against San Sebastian on Thursday, Dolly Versoza detonated a bomb from the left wing to give her side a crucial 10-7 edge in the fifth set.
Moments after that, a woman bellowed from the stands, shouting: “Lima na lang, Dolly!” And in response, Versoza looked towards the crowd and smiled.
It was clear.
Versoza is well aware of the huge responsibility she has to shoulder as a third-year spiker and Management major for a team built on rookies and sophomores.
Though the 21-year-old might not have scored five times in a row late in the match, she delivered the crucial plays, including the match-clinching blow. And that conscious effort to take charge when it matters most is something that she’s now more than willing to embrace.
“Ngayon is parang bata pa ‘yung teammates ko, kaya kailangan ko mag-step up as a captain para maging matured pa ako. Kasi last year parang may captain [kami], kaya parang hindi pa ako nagco-commit,” the full-fledged captain of the Lady Bombers revealed in the post-game interview following their escape act against the Lady Stags.
“Ngayon, naging matured ako bigla kasi ‘yung mga teammates ko mga freshmen.”
Entering this season, JRU lost significant firepower with Karen Montojo and Mary Grace Rivera’s exit from the collegiate scene. Not to mention the fact that Season 93 MVP Shola Alvarez has long since left the Maria Tioseco-mentored squad.
Given this, Versoza has become the team’s focal point on offense. And most importantly, the major source of leadership.
“Sabi ko lang sa kanila na, ‘Gusto niyo bang manalo?’ Kasi ‘yun palagi ang sinasabi ni coach na ‘yung matitira lang naman dito ay ‘yung gustong manalo,” she recalled.
“’Yun na-motivate sila lalo na kailangan namin ito. Kailangan naming manalo.”
But besides the motivation she’s capable of providing, Versoza also proved that she can lead her relatively young team by example. Her all-around brilliance that produced a game-high 21 markers built on 16 attacks and three services, to go along with 20 excellent digs was solid proof.
With the season well underway, do expect Versoza to be the leading light for her sisters-in-arms in a bid to propel JRU back to title contention.
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