There were legitimate concerns for the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws at the start of the season. Key players were injured, and young players struggled to fill in the gaps.
One of those key players is Bernadette Pons. The third year open hitter was diagnosed with scoliosis, which has led to chronic back problems.
Pons sat out a majority of FEU’s early matches, slowly reintegrating herself into the team’s groove. As Pons started to regain health, FEU also experienced success.
Heading into Wednesday, FEU were third in the league at 4-3, and were confident before facing the De La Salle University Lady Spikers.
But all their confidence was immediately sapped to start the match. FEU wound up surrendering the first two sets in deplorable fashion.
With their ball control adjusting, a whole new Lady Tams side showed up in the next two frames. Pons led a spirited FEU comeback, shouldering the majority of the scoring against La Salle’s gigantic blockers.
FEU succumbed in five sets, but Pons finished with a career-high 23 points and renewed confidence in her condition.
“Sabi sa amin, kung ano ‘yung gusto namin mangyari, ‘yun ang isipin namin, kalimutan namin ‘yung nangyari noong first two sets,” Pons said about the comeback. “Kung iisipin namin ‘yung first two sets, wala na kaming magandang ilalaro. Kalimutan natin ‘yun. Isipin nalang natin na first set ulet.”
“Para sa akin, medyo bumabalik ‘yung laro ko. Pero alam kong kulang pa din. Kailangan ko pa maging mas consistent, mas maging madiskarte sa pagpatay ng bola,” she told on her physical condition.
Her head coach, Shaq Delos Santos, was delighted with how Pons had responded when they faced adversity.
“Nakita niya na kailangan siya ng team kaya makikita mong na-motivate siya. Paunti-unti nang bumabalik ‘yung consistency niya, kaunting polishing na lang. Good thing ‘yun kasi kailangan talaga siya ng team para manalo pa kami in the second round.”
Although losing was still a hard pill for them to swallow, FEU saw what they needed to execute against the league’s upper echelon squads.
“Even though natalo kami sa La Salle, nakita namin na kaya naman. Dadaanin na lang sa training and focus,” Pons said.
FEU’s next match is against the University of the East Lady Warriors.