Nicole Tiamzon was a huge cog in UP’s campaign to formally shed its doormat mentality in the past UAAP season. Tiamzon delivered a career-high scoring average, successfully transtioning back into her main scoring role after spending a season as UP’s make-shift setter.
During the last season, there were moments where Tiamzon’s performance petered out. Especially late into the second round, when she displayed signs of fatigue most evident in their five-set second round loss to Adamson.
Tiamzon, however, has experienced a revitalization of sorts in her time with the Foton Tornadoes. In her first two games, Tiamzon has averaged a staggering 18 points per match, second in her team behind the high-flying veteran, Patty Orendain. In Foton’s heated match against the star-studded Petron Blaze Spikers, Tiamzon led the Tornadoes with 22 points. Petron’s lineup – featuring past UAAP stars, Rachel Daquis, Dindin Santiago, Aby Maraño, and Maica Morada – would have caused any other rookie to flinch. Tiamzon considered it an honor to share the court with them.
“It felt great na makipagasabayan sa kanila. Wala namang masamang feelings sa side namin. Considering na sila ‘yung defending champions, mas may pressure sa kanila manalo. We just tried to enjoy the game,” Tiamzon remarked.
So far, Tiamzon has been the best rookie in the conference. Her approach for every spike doesn’t seem as tenuous as it was during the UAAP season, resulting in less attack errors as she she delivers her sharp angled attacks. In a team filled with fellow up-and-coming volleyball stars, Tiamzon emphasized that there is no pressure from the team for her to carry the load.
“As in wala talagang pressure. Ang gusto lang talaga ni Coach Vilet [Ponce] every rotation, kahit saan kami sa court, we contribute to the team and we improve,” said Nicole.
Also, summer for most students usually means a time to kick back, and get their minds off their books. But Tiamzon’s responsibilities as an “Iskolar Ng Bayan”, gives her no rest, as she balances her pursuit of her Sports Science degree, whilst driven to get better at volleyball.
“Busy pa rin talaga kasi my classes still run through the entire PSL season. So I have classes in the morning up until the afternoon then practice with Foton na matatapos ng gabi na. Then repeat that the next day… Buhay pa naman ako (laughs). Pero sobrang enjoy naman. The goal is magka-experience dito sa PSL na hopefully magagamit ko din for UAAP,” Tiamzon quipped.