De La Salle University rookie libero Justine Jazareno has already drawn comparisons with Lady Spikers great Dawn Macandili as early as the first round of the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
Aside from the exceptional showings on the defensive end that she has been putting up since the start of the tournament, Jazareno, who is also a product of De La Salle-Zobel just like Macandili, is sporting the same number as her long-time idol.
Indeed, there is a huge amount of pressure resting on the 5-foot-5 libero’s shoulders. But not one to back down from anything, Jazareno has already embraced the pressure and the responsibility of being La Salle’s next defensive ace.
“Idol ko po talaga si ate Dawn [Macandili] kasi ano rin po siya, stable and consistent yun po,” admitted Jazareno after La Salle’s rousing sweep of the University of the Philippines on Tuesday.
“Pero siguro hindi ko masyado pine-pressure yung sarili ko knowing na yung number ko number nung mga libero before like sila Ate Dawn. Binibigay ko lang yung best ko, nagfo-focus lang ako sa kung anong dadating na game,” she insisted.
Jazareno finished with 12 excellent digs and 11 excellent receptions in the Lady Spikers’s 25-12, 25-17, 25-19 drubbing of the Fighting Maroons which put the team at solo second with a 4-2 standing.
According to La Salle assistant coach Benson Bocboc, who played a big role in developing Macandili into the player that she is today, Jazareno’s impressive performance in the tournament can be traced back to the work that she has been doing during the team’s practices.
While there are still a few things that the young libero needs to work on, Bocboc said that she already has the skill set to take her game to the next level.
“As you can see, nabanggit mo nga kanina she’s consistent so ganun din naman. Actually, we’re still building yung connection ni Justine [Jazareno], yung pasa niya towards doon sa setters, yung connection niya, yung presence niya sa loob together with the other passers,” said Bocboc in the post-game interview.
“Pero individually, ang skills niya consistent talaga pero still needs improvements as always so lagi tayong nag sa-strive to do better, pataas nang pataas hahabulin natin ‘yon so ganun yung hahabulin natin na standard.”
On her part, Jazareno is just grateful for the trust that the coaching staff and her teammates have placed in her, saying: “Tinanggap ko rin yung responsibility as a libero and yung trust ng coaches sa akin na every game and every training kahit anong mangyari walang babagsak na bola.”