Perhaps one of the toughest positions to play in volleyball is being the Libero. Being tasked to be the team’s last line of defense against the opposition’s main guns, the Libero spot is usually reserved for the squad’s toughest nut.
In her U23 AVC campaign so far, it has been an up and down ride for Tin Agno given that it is her first time to take her talents to the international stage, but setting aside all the jitters and jeers, she is more than thankful to be representing the country’s U23 Women’s Volleyball Team.
“Ako, sobrang thankful na nakapaglaro ako dito. Ito ang pinaka-first time ko, since nagstart akong maglaro, na sumali dito,” Agno told Tiebreaker Times.
However, considering how inexperienced the Filipino volleyball players are despite their great performances at the local leagues, Agno felt the pressure and had a rough ride to start the international tournament. In their game against Iran, she struggled mightily with Iran’s strategic serves, but she would bounce back with a better performance in the Philippines’ lone win against Kazakhstan.
Everyone expected that trend to continue, but Agno, once again, felt the pressure, and eventually struggled against Asian powerhouses like Japan, Taipei and most recently, China.
Known for being one of the most passionate fans when it comes to supporting their local teams, we Filipinos are always quick to backlash against our athletes if they have underwhelming performances. Unfortunately, for the past days, Agno has fallen prey to it.
“Sobrang bigat [ng pressure] kasi hindi na school ang dala mo at hindi basta isang liga lang,” Agno added. “International na ito at siyempre kung compare naman siya sa akin na walang experience pa, nandoon ang pressure na ikaw lang mag-isa ‘yung Libero tapos hindi pa biro ‘yung kalaban.”
Eventually, the critics got into her head which affected her performance inside the court. She felt that with just one mishap and the crowd will antagonize her; but if she gets things straight, Agno instantly becomes the hero.
Despite all those problems that bombarded her and really put a dent in her morale, Agno luckily has her teammates and close friends to pull her up in times of need.
“May times na bumigay na talaga ako pero hindi ako binitawan ng coaches, teammates [ko sa U23 team], teammates ko sa Army at teammates ko sa FEU. Iyong family ko hindi din nila ako binitawan. Sobrang chinicheer-up nila ako at minomotivate,” Agno added. “Kapag sinasabi ng mga team mates ko at sina Coach Roger na nandito lang kami at nasa likod mo kami at wag kang mapressure. Doon ko nakuha ang confidence ko uli para lumaban.”
Now, knowing that her colleagues will have her back until the tournament ends, Agno will just continue facing the giants and give it her all. With the country’s love for volleyball stronger than before, Agno can only hope for the best in bringing pride to her motherland.
“Ikaw na ang nakataya diyan. Take the opportunity na wala nang urungan at kailangan matapang ka para sa team mo at para sa bansa na dinadala mo,” Agno ended.