National University’s search for setter is officially over as far as coach Roger Gorayeb is concerned.
Ever since the Lady Bulldogs have started trying to contend for championships, they’ve always been missing a decent setter.
Ivy Perez tried.
Asi Soliven tried.
Rica Diolan tried.
None of them were the playmaker the Lady Bulldogs needed.
It took Jasmine Nabor to finally fill the void.
As the confetti streamed down on the gold-clad Lady Bulldogs conference Wednesday evening at the PhilSports Arena, Gorayeb reflected on Nabor’s journey from lefty hitter to scoring setter.
“Sabi ko sa kanya ‘wala kang choice, ikaw ang magse-setter’,” the decorated mentor recalled telling Nabor one day during the off-season. Perez and Soliven had both exhausted their playing years by then and Diolan had decided to transfer.
“Nagulat siya pero hindi siya umimik.”
This is where Gorayeb drew a comparison with his former player Alyssa Valdez whom he recruited and groomed during his time in Ateneo.
“Para siyang si Alyssa noong araw. Wala akong pinagawa kay Alyssa na kinuwestiyon niya. Oo lang siya ng oo kahit hirap na hirap na siya sa akin,” Gorayeb reflected.
“Ganiyan din si Jasmine. Noong sinabi kong siya na ang setter, tinanggap niya at nakinig siya.”
According to Gorayeb, the difference with Nabor with the previous setters has nothing to do with skills but with attitude.
“Jas is a very low profile player. Very meek pero very patient siya. Hindi rin siya ‘yung tipo ng setter na kaiinisan ng spiker kapag hindi sila nabigyan ng bola – napakabait kasi niyan ni Jasmine,” Gorayeb insisted. “Siya ‘yung setter na sa napaka-ikling panahon, nakuha niya agad ‘yung style ng pagse-set na gusto ko.”
Even for Jaja Santiago’s recent MVP run in the league, Gorayeb gives credit to his young setter.
“Kasi nga nagtugma talaga sila ni Jasmine. Dati hirap na hirap si Jaja, ngayon hindi. Magaan ‘yung nilalaro nila,” the decorated mentor added.
For her part, Nabor bares that her chemistry with her spikers comes from love.
“Siguro po kaya ganoon kasi nandiyan ‘yung love namin para sa isa’t isa. Sobrang ganda po kasi talaga ng samahan namin ng team ngayon,” the lefty playmaker bared.
The Tarlac-native played tremendously in their Finals series, not only tossing 43 excellent sets in the title-clinching but also scoring 14 points. She was eventually rewarded with the Finals MVP plum.
“Sobrang nakakatuwa po kasi napatunayan ko sa mga tao – sa mga coaches at sa iba – na hindi sila nagkamali na ako ‘yung ginawang setter. Nakaka-proud po kasi parang nasuklian ko kahit papaano ‘yung tiwala nila sa akin,” the 18-year old said.
With the UAAP season looming, Nabor is beaming with newfound confidence in herself and her team.
“Marami na po kaming pinagdaanan as a team. Sa dami po ng challenges na ‘yun, masasabi ko na kaya po talaga namin.”