There was an air of hope in Taft Avenue when two-time NCAA Best Outside Hitter Noel Kampton decided to join its men’s volleyball squad.
For a school that longs to regain glory on the volleyball court, the entrance of such a talented athlete is very much welcome.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic hampered Kampton’s debut for De La Salle University as the UAAP Season 83 got canceled.
More than a year after the UAAP allowed Season 84 to push through, and its calendar is men’s beach volleyball. Finally, Kampton got to represent the Green and White in a rousing way on Friday as he and long-time stalwart Vince Maglinao took down the more favored squads National University and University of the Philippines.
“First of all sobrang natuwa ako kasi, after ilan years ba yun, two? Yeah. Two, na nagka-UAAP na and yun sobrang naninibago pa ako ngayon sa UAAP system,” said Kampton, who also had a stint with National University when he was in high school.
“Sinabihan ako ng coach ko na maglaro daw ako, sabi ko ‘yung una kasi ayoko pa nga kasi nga wala ako sa rhythm. Wala talaga ako sa rhythm, pero ‘yun thankful kami kasi binigyan kami ng preparation ng La Salle. Binigyan kami ng kahit one month lang, sobrang okay na sa amin ‘yun. Yung first week namin sobrang naninibago kami as in parang kaming bata na nag simula na maglakad, ganon, pero the rest trust the process, tuluy-tuloy lang okay na kami.”
It was a welcome scene that the Green Spikers are on top of the team standings, albeit sharing it with archrival Ateneo, at 2-0, as the men’s beach volleyball squad has not seen much success.
The team ended Season 82 in sixth place with a 2-5 win-loss record and in just one day, they have matched this win total. They have stunned the Bulldogs, who are parading national team stalwart Jame Buytrago and Pol Salvador in three sets, and then dominated the Fighting Maroons, who have Kampton’s former teammate in Perpetual, Louis Gamban, and Dan Nicolas in the second set of a straight-set contest.
“To be honest siguro pag pasok namin dito sa UAAP, isa kami sa mga underdog. Kasi knowing na La Salle is di naman sobrang kilala sa beach volleyball, di siya sobrang tinututukan. Pero, but ngayon ‘yun nga, nabigyan kami ng chance; ta’s kami nag training lang kami, ta’s yun trust the process,” the 22-year-old, multiple time NCAA champion said.
“‘Tsaka ‘yung first game namin against NU, ano nga eh idol namin yung mga ‘yun e, mga national team yun e, mga nag si-SEA Games yung mga ‘yun e. So ‘yung parang moment na makalaban kami sa kanila, isang karangalan na e. ‘Yun medyo siguro sinwerte kami or naka-chamba kami, ‘yun natalo namin sila.”
But despite the two-game romp on opening day, the ever-perfectionist standout knew there are things to work on going forward if they really want to end La Salle’s futility with a Final Four stint.
Kampton share, “To be honest, oo di pa ako nagagadahan sa laro namin e. Madami pang kulang sa amin. Tignan mo parang lagi ‘pag sa score namin lagi kami nadidikitan kasi mga errors din namin e.
“Di kami naka-focus sometimes kasi parang ‘yun talaga naninibago pa kami, nag-aadjust pa kami ngayon sa UAAP.”