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.
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.”
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