For the first time in a long while, University of the Philippines took care of business against long-time tormentor Ateneo de Manila University when it raised the curtains of its UAAP Season 82 men’s volleyball campaign, Wednesday.
And during its electric start, a rookie brought the thunder.
Louis Gamban commanded the spotlight on the biggest of stages, pouring 10 points in the straight-set conquest. He was the culprit behind that scoring binge that turned a slim 20-21 deficit in the decisive third set to a commanding 24-21 lead.
During that stretch, the UP neophyte was bursting with energy. He busted out a string of crowd-igniting, after-attack antics, oozing confidence under the brightest of lights.
Admittedly, the on-court swag was all part of UP’s plan. It meant Ateneo no harm.
“Charot-charot lang po ‘yun. Nag-sorry ako sa Ateneo,” Gamban confessed.
“Kasama po ‘yun, nasa plano po ‘yun namin nila coach [Rald Ricafort] sa training po kasi kung ano ‘yung tine-training namin, masaya kami sa training. Masaya kami nagpunta dito, parang normal day lang. Wala naman kaming last year, ngayon kami ‘yung rebound.”
Gamban nurtured that swagger during his playing years back in the NCAA, when he suited up for the vaunted high school program of Perpetual. Now a full-blown show-stopper on the court, he is more than willing to flaunt that for UP’s cause.
“Sa Perps may tulong po siya kasi galing sa champion team, then pagpasok po rito andami pong binabago ni coach sa emotions sa attitude sa paglaro” he shared.
“Lahat po ‘yun binago ko pagdating ko sa UP. Inisa-isa ko ‘yung pag-aadjust. Feel ko malaki po yung pinag-improve ko sa mga itinuro ni coach. Sa coach nakatulong na laban lang kasi sa Perps bawal matalo, laging fight lang ng fight.”