When Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola, and Pia Gaiser joined the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons volleyball program five years ago, there had been barely any expectations, excitement, nor support for the perennial bottom four squad.
Fast forward to 2017. After numerous coaching changes, and after several Lady Maroons declined to exhaust all their playing years, the trio are still with the team — only this time competing for a championship.
Ever since Jerry Yee came in and took on the program, the Lady Maroons have been ticking off one milestone after another. Wednesday evening, the Lady Maroons conquered another major hurdle, defeating the De La Salle University Lady Spikers for the first time since 2008.
Having experienced all the downs of being in a struggling program, the trio shared their thoughts about finally being on the up.
“We wanted to win very, very badly. Sobrang excited ko going into the game kasi nga parang in my five years sa UAAP, the past four years, two sets pa lang ata ang nakukuha namin sa kanila sa apat na taon ko.
“Sila na lang yung team na hindi namin natatalo sa lahat ng eight teams sa UAAP. Sila na lang ang hindi pa natatalo. So parang kami, tinyaga talaga namin,” said Bersola, a walk-on to the program.
“It’s big for me kasi after five years, it’s the first time we won against La Salle. For the team naman, we take it one game at a time. We treat all teams the same in terms of preparation,” expressed Gaiser, who played her first game of the season after lower back complications.
“Siyempre nakaka-boost ng morale and importante nakadagdag din ng confidence para sa buong team namin and unti unti nagagawa namin yung ginagawa namin sa training. Di mo naman expected na matatalo namin La Salle,” added Tiamzon, who scored a game-high 16 points in the game.
But since this is only their third match of the season, the seniors are not letting the win get to their head.
“Si coach Jerry na mismo, he keeps us humble, he keeps working talaga. Ganitong panalo, may training pa rin kami bukas, wala kaming rest.
“He keeps us level. He keeps telling us na don’t believe everything you see on social media, wag niyo masyadong mag-rely sa mga sinasabi ng mga tao. Just rely on what we do and yung work ethic natin talaga,” said Bersola.
“Hindi naman kami champion pa eh. Nanalo kami for today marami pa kaming remaining games so trababo ulit. Sabi nila celebrate today then tomorrow work today,” Tiamzon concluded.