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FEU’s breakout star Heather Guino-O thankful for challenging last year

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Tiebreaker Times FEU's breakout star Heather Guino-O thankful for challenging last year FEU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Heather Guino-o FEU Women's Volleyball

Through much of her first four years in the UAAP, Heather Guino-O played minimal roles with the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws, often just coming off the bench.

That changed in the Season 80 Finals, where she played a capable Robin to Bernadeth Pons’ Batman. Guino-O averaged 13.5 points per match and provided a steady backrow presence against La Salle, but the Lady Tamaraws fell short.

In Season 81, after losing their all-around captain Pons, then starting opposite spiker Toni Rose Basas, FEU needed another ace and Guino-O ably stepped in.

Guino-O, who is just 21 years young, led FEU in scoring; she punched in 12.7 points per match, and ranks fifth in the league in spike efficiency with a 28.14-percent clip. The Lady Tamaraws badly needed Guino-O’s breakout year after a knee injury to rookie star Lycha Ebon hampered the team.

FEU earned the fourth seed in the Final Four. They then took down the twice-to-beat Ateneo Lady Eagles once, but fell short in the do-or-die game for a Finals seat.

Tiebreaker Times FEU's breakout star Heather Guino-O thankful for challenging last year FEU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Heather Guino-o FEU Women's Volleyball

Still, Guino-O reflected fondly on the season, saying a lot of people counted them out.

“Sobrang saya po na nakarating po kami sa kung nasaan po kami ngayon kasi, ‘yun nga po, parang simula pa lang ang dami nang nagda-doubt sa amin. Pero pinakita po naming lahat na hindi kami basta-bastang team,” said Guino-O while fighting back tears.

Being thrown into a leadership role made Guino-O believe in herself like she never had.

“Noong apat na taon ko before dito sa UAAP, parang ‘di ko pa po tinatatak sa isip ko na kaya ko din po mag-lead. Nandoon pa rin ‘yung doubt sa sarili ko,” the 5-foot-7 spiker recalled.

“Ngayon nga po, itong huling taon ko, natutunan ko na kailangan ko magtiwala sa sarili ko para maipakita ko na kaya kong makatulong sa team.”

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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