An extremely talented pool of young athletes is coming in to the women’s division of UAAP 81 Seniors Volleyball. These highly skilled players will definitely make the competition for the “Rookie of the Year” as tightly contested as the MVP plum.
Some of these players might get a huge chunk of playing time upon their debut, while some might ride the bench to give way for more veteran players. But one thing is certain; these rookies are not far from being household names in the tournament.
Princess Robles – National University
National University will bank on a rookie-laden team as it lost several key players. The situation notwithstanding, expectations are high for the Sampaloc squad as it is set to grace the court with the NU-Nazareth school’s championship score: the Ilongga standout Princess Robles, who emerged as one of the top scorers when she played as a guest player for the Lady Bulldogs in the Premiere Volleyball League (PVL) in 2017. Her scoring prowess could have wreaked more havoc had she not been injured in one of the matches. Whether she can return to her old form or can only level down in terms of play, Princess remains a valuable addition to the team.
Jasckin Babol – University of the East
The Lady Warriors will only be parading one rookie for their season 81 campaign. The young defensive specialist, Jasckin Babol, from Ilagan City will be manning the floor with the multi-awarded libero, Kath Arado. The pint-sized libero showed what she can do when the Lady Warriors joined last year’s Philippine SuperLiga Invitational Conference sans Arado due to club commitments. Impressively, Babol held her own ground against some of the best liberos in the country. It will be hard for Babol to play starting for the Lady Warriors since Arado is returning for her swan song. But her addition to the squad gave the Lady Warriors a worthy replacement for the position come season 82.
Mary Mirgie Bautista – University of the Philippines
The Lady Maroons are early favorites to win the title this season in respect to their off-season success. The Diliman squad was able to clinch two major off-season championships—the PVL Collegiate Conference and the PSL Collegiate Grandslam. With their lineup, only the libero position needs occupation. This void will be filled by the rookie from De La Salle Lipa, Mary Mirgie Bautista. Originally playing as an open spiker, the young Bautista was converted by Coach Godfrey Okumu to a defensive specialist in the hopes of addressing the reception woes that had been plaguing the Lady Maroons since last season. The troika of Molde-Carlos-Dorog will depend on the stability of the first balls coming from the converted libero.
Eya Laure – University of Santo Thomas
The UST girls’ volleyball program had been known to produce top caliber volleybelles only to lose these gems to their rival schools come the senior ranks. Several examples of these are Alyssa Valdez who went on as the Queen Eagle of Katipunan (AdMU) and the Santiago sisters who had been known as the twin towers of Sampaloc (NU). Eya Laure, another UST high school standout, honors commitment by remaining a Golden Tigress. The younger Laure received recognitions both as a setter and a wing spiker. Arguably the best recruit of the season, the young opposite spiker—the position that she will probably assume—are claws out as she faces her veteran counterparts to give graduating Sisi Rondina the graceful exit she deserves.
Graphics and featured image by Roc Verdera.
— UAAP 81 Women’s Volleyball Preview: Rookies on the Rise (ADU, ADMU, DLSU, FEU)
— UAAP 81 Men’s Volleyball Tournament Preview: AdMU, UST, DLSU, UE
— UAAP 81 Men’s Volleyball Tournament Preview: NU, FEU, AdU, UP
— Reasons Why We Should Watch UAAP Season 81
— Former Lady Archer Michele Gumabao Vies for the 2018 Miss Globe Crown