It isn’t Kathy Bersola’s nature to be feisty or expressive on the volleyball court; she’s normally calm and collected. But behind that is a burning desire to compete and an overwhelming tenacity to succeed.
Bersola is competitive. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the Taraflex, inside the classroom, or finals/hell week. She’s just competitive in life.
Nine months after an ACL injury that abruptly cut her UAAP Season 77 campaign short, Bersola returned to action for the first time following a long road to recovery.
“Sobrang surreal niya,” the middle blocker shared after UP downed Philippine Navy in the Shakey’s V-League last Saturday. “I look back at the last nine months and grabe, sobrang dami kong pinagdaanan at tinapos. Marami akong oras na ginamit for recovery tapos now, I am back. Hindi pa 100 percent but I am getting there,” Bersola said, saying the moment felt new although it was familiar.
Bersola finished with eight points and mixed emotions both during and after the game.
“May pressure dahil kailangan maging leader ako on the court,” she said. “Before the game sobrang saya ko and excited pero pagpasok ko sa game, ito na pala talaga yun. Medyo kinabahan ako. Nanibago ako dahil may kalaban na. Hindi scrimmage na kami-kami lang.”
But she is excited.
Throughout her recovery, Bersola kept believing there would be a next chapter. That behaviour is engrained in her DNA, no matter how difficult the process. For her there is no reason for quitting, a thought that kept her going throughout recovery.
“[Volleyball] gets me out of my bed,” she said. “Marami lang kailangan i-work on pero I am excited.”
And now she is home.
“Passion ko talaga ang volleyball. I can’t imagine being out because it is my life, basically. Every day maski mahirap sa therapy, go lang. And also the thought of naiwan ko sa ere ang mga teammates ko so gustong-gusto kong bumawi and I know kailangan nila ako kaya yun talaga ang inspiration ko. Yung teammates ko nagpapakahirap sa training and ako kailangan ko tapusin (ang therapy) para sa kanila,” she shared.
Seeing the influx of new talent in the team has added motivation. Bersola thinks UP may have missed a chance in Season 77, but the team has only gotten stronger. “Perfect timing siguro. Fourth year na rin kami ng teammates ko, sobrang gusto na namin makapag-Final Four, and ang laking tulong ng mga bata. Even coach willing dalhin kami all the way. So kami, willing kaming lahat and okay na sigurong na-expose yung ibang middles,” she said.
With recovery almost done, Bersola’s focus is shifting to the next chapter.
She still has a mission to fulfill, and seeing the support from the UP community gives her additional fuel.
With the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball action kicking off in about two months, Bersola aims to return with the same amount of dedication and flair. “Yung vision ng pagiging champion o pagdadala sa team patungo sa championship, inspiration rin yun. Gustong-gusto naming lahat”.
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