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Ponggay Gaston musters best game yet when Ateneo needed it most



Tiebreaker Times Ponggay Gaston musters best game yet when Ateneo needed it most ADMU News PVL Volleyball  Ponggay Gaston Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles 2018 PVL Season 2018 PVL Open Conference

One of the most energetic volleyball players in the country broke through to keep the Ateneo-Motolite Lady Eagles alive in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference.

Gaston led the Lady Eagles in the do-or-die Game Two, hanging 11 points on the BanKo Perlas Spikers.

The fourth-year open hitter had her most efficient game yet. She also showed more comfort in her role as one of Ateneo’s go-to scorers.

“I’m just grateful that we finally got BanKo kasi sa lahat ng games na kinalaban namin sila, hindi pa namin sila natatalo. ‘Yung last game lang napanalo kami ng two sets, so this game we really worked as a team and then, we really had nothing to lose.

“Sabi namin, all-out na tayo guys kasi ito na yung last chance namin to beat them. Kasi, if we lose, wala na kaming chance,” Gaston said.

Through her first three years in the Loyola-based program, Gaston has mostly been used as an off-the-bench option. The effervescent 21-year old admits that she still has several kinks to work out to fully adjust to starting. Still, she is willing to do whatever first year head coach Oliver Almadro asks of her.

“For me, it doesn’t matter if I start on the bench or if I start inside, because we’re one team naman. Coach says to the girls who aren’t playing that ‘everyone has to be ready, because if I put you in you have to perform.’

“So ako siyempre, sanay ako coming from the bench, so I always get first-game jitters starting. Parang now I‘m just starting to get used to it. But, I just have faith in my teammates na sasaluhin nila ako kahit mage-error ako or puntos ko,” shared the fourth-year Lady Eagle.

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In the winner-take-all Game Three, Gaston asserted the team’s need to learn their new system. As one of the youngest squads in the tournament, the Lady Eagles have nothing to lose in facing a veteran team like BanKo.

Gaston is taking things in stride, especially coach Oliver’s in-your-face style of coaching.

“He’s not afraid to point out our mistakes. Even if it’s our point – let’s say misreceive ko, pero we got the point – he’s not afraid to call me out or call the other girls out for the errors kasi ‘yun nga, perfectionist din si coach O,” the 5-foot-9 spiker opined.

“‘Di niya papalipasin ‘yung mga maliliit na bagay, kasi what he says is we’ll regret it in the future, kasi baka madala pa namin yung mga errors na yun. So yung gusto ko kay coach is yung hindi niya talaga palilipasin yung mga maliit na bagay. He really develops the players over time.”

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.