The seniors of National University knew that they are up for something big heading into the UAAP Season 84.
Confidence is one thing to keep in mind, but having a champion’s mindset kept Princess Robles, Jen Nierva, and Ivy Lacsina believe that the Lady Bulldogs are all-in for the long haul.
Through total team effort and with the help of super rookies in Michaela Belen, Alyssa Solomon, and Camilla Lamina, NU did not disappoint as it won its first UAAP title in 65 years.
Robles, the team captain and eventual Finals Most Valuable Player, became the anchor of the rookie-laden squad while Nierva and Lacsina served as her right-hand women who also looked after and helped the newcomers.
“Una pa lang, bago mag-start ‘yong season naisip na namin nila Jen at Ivy na kaya namin mag-sweep ngayong season,” said Robles, who won Season 81’s Best Server before being sidelined in Season 82.”Pero syempre, ‘di naman naging madali ‘yon. Pinagtrabahuhan muna namin. ‘Yon yong sinasabi namin sa isa’t isa, na kaya namin mag-champion.”
Aside from ending its 65-year title drought, NU became the first team to sweep a season since the Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo did in Season 77.
The Lady Bulldogs, who consist of the juniors’ champions squad, also swept the individual awarding ceremony with Belen leading the pack as the first-ever rookie-Most Valuable Player and the #1 Best Outside Hitter.
Solomon was hailed as the Best Opposite Hitter while Lamina was named Best Setter. Jen Nierva won the Best Libero plum and Sheena Toring, also a rookie, notched the #2 Best Middle Blocker.
Faith Nisperos of Ateneo and Thea Gagate of De La Salle, former Lady Bullpups standouts, also emerged as the #2 Best Outside Hitter and #1 Best Middle Blocker, respectively.
Nierva, for her part, echoed Robles’ sentiments and realized from the get-go that it is high time for the Lady Bulldogs.
“I’m very, very confident po talaga nakayang kaya po namin makuha ‘yong championship,” said Nierva. “Hindi lang po tayo sa skills na meron tayo bawat isa, pero every single day na nagt-training po kami and mag-step up sa court ng gym kahit sobrang init at hihimatayan na po kami sa hirap ng training, wala pong bumigay sa amin.
“Kahit sobrang pagod po ng bawat isa, sobrang willing pa rin po sila matuto at magpalakas po,” said the league’s Best Libero.
With a lot of playing years to come for the rookies, the seniors believe that NU is in very good hands by the time they leave UAAP.