Few University of the Philippines Lady Maroons can say they hit the ball as hard as Marian Buitre.
In her first four UAAP seasons, the 5-foot-8 spiker found her niche in the UP lineup with her willingness to play any position, from middle blocker to opposite hitter.
Coming into the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball Tournament, Buitre had a tremendous off-season, keying UP’s run to the PVL Collegiate Conference Finals. But when the UAAP season came around, Buitre spent most of her time on the bench, as UP head coach Godfrey Okumu opted to have Isa Molde, Tots Carlos, and Justine Dorog occupy the wings.
Admittedly, Buitre had to adjust her expectations with her reduced role in her final year.
“Well at first it was really frustrating for me, kasi I felt like I was running out of time. I was in a hurry to do everything. I was in a hurry to perform, basically in all aspects; I was in a hurry kasi it’s my last year, I want to make the most out of it,” said the Landscape Architecture major, as UP are in the hunt for a Final Four spot with a 6-4 record.
“But then, at some point na-realize ko na I’m always trying to prove a point, but then I guess I don’t really need to prove anything. Kasi it’s a team sport. There’s nothing more noble than seeing your teammates play their best; they’re winning, our team is winning even at your own expense. So kapag kailangan lang nila ako, I’m here for them.”
The 22-year-old did have a very different idea of how her final season would go. But winning has eased her frustrations to an extent.
“Of course every season naman, meron akong sine-set na goals for myself. But itong season na ito, siyempre hindi ako naging starter, hindi ako masyadong pinalaro noong first round.
“But then, ‘yun nga, it’s a team sport. Hindi naman lahat ng goals ko for myself, makukuha ko. But the goals of the team, as long as the goals of the team are committed, parang okay lang sa akin. The goals of the team are my goals also,” Buitre emphasized.
“Pero it’s really a big pill to swallow, kasi as a veteran tapos iba-bangko ka. Pero wala eh, ito ‘yung ginusto ko. If I wasn’t patient enough, eh ‘di I didn’t play today,” she continued.
With Molde set for a possible return on Saturday, Buitre still isn’t conceding the possibility of starting again.
“Well, let’s cross the bridge when we get there.”