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Ponggay Gaston determined to keep improving

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Tiebreaker Times Ponggay Gaston determined to keep improving ADMU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Ponggay Gaston Ateneo Women's Volleyball

The Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles have one of the tallest lineups in UAAP Season 81, with their starting rotation averaging five-foot-nine-inches in height.

But height doesn’t guarantee success in volleyball. Case in point: Ateneo’s Ponggay Gaston.

The fourth-year, 5-foot-8 winger has had to adjust to playing the open hitter spot. The former UST Junior Tigress had a rocky start, but she has been coming into her own lately.

After tallying 10 points against the University of the Philippines last Sunday, Gaston followed up with a career-best 16-point output in Ateneo’s win over the Adam University, their fifth straight of the season.

“I didn’t even know that I got sixteen points. I don’t really count points kasi every game… that’s just how I am,” said the effervescent Gaston, adding that she had started to worry when she was subbed out in the second set.

“I guess this is a blessing for me kasi nga sinub out ako noong second set. I was beginning to worry na what if I don’t come back into the game.

“When I came back, I just said na I’ll do my best. Adamson’s a hard team to beat. My team was doing well, so I didn’t want to be a liability. I just tried to do my best. Bea said after the third set to be happy and celebrate, so I just did that kahit na nage-error ako,” the 20-year-old furthered.

For the Lady Eagles, sitting atop the standings has a lot to do with the team pulling consistent performances from Gaston and their other open hitter Jules Samonte.

Tiebreaker Times Ponggay Gaston determined to keep improving ADMU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Ponggay Gaston Ateneo Women's Volleyball

Gaston, however, acknowledges that she has a lot to work on to truly be a well-rounded open hitter.

“I still have so much to work on and practice. I need to work on my shortcomings kasi I know na marami pa rin akong pagkukulang,” she said.

“Being a player, it’s not like you stop when you reach a certain goal. Coach teaches us to aim higher and have our hearts on what’s above. I can’t be complacent. I have to help the team. Mataas naman tiwala ko kasi sa mga coach and my teammates.”

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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