The National University men’s volleyball team has the chance to defend their championship title in the UAAP Season 81 tournament after having secured a seat on the semis. With 10-1 win-loss slate, the Bulldogs remain as the top seed.
Among the key players assumed to deliver for more wins is six-foot-five middle blocker Francis Saura. Currently taking AB English, his second college program after earning a degree on BSBA Financial Management, this Davaoeño was recruited by the National University during the 2013 Palarong Pambansa—where he represented his region as a high school varsity athlete of Thompson Christian School.
Saura has since gone beyond representing Davao, as he was also an instrumental member of the Philippine national team which dethroned Thailand in the 19th ASEAN University Games held in December last year.
Last April 14, 2019, Saura and his squad have secured the first twice-to-beat advantage after making quick work of University of Santo Tomas. Before he continues with his on court rampage, MBody gets a chance to know more about him, and his thoughts on playing the sport for several years now.
What inspired you to get into volleyball?
Natuto ako sa tita ko. Nakita ko siya naglaro sa barangay, and then ayun, nahiligan ko na rin. So after high school, inisip ko agad kung saan ako mag-aaral, kung paano ko matutulungan si mama. Through volleyball, nakalibre ako ng tuition, scholarship.
Who’s your biggest volleyball inspiration?
Not exactly an idol pero namamangha ako kasi bago lang siya, from Japan (Yuji Nishida). Ang bata kasi niya tapos gano’n na siya kalakas.
Who’s the alumnus whom you miss playing volleyball with?
Kim Dayandante. Unang-una, kasi batch mate ko siya. Siya ‘yong isa mga nakasama ko nang pinakamatagal.
Who’s the volleyball player from other team/s whom you enjoy playing with the most?
Mostly sa Ateneo. Si Marck Espejo, Josh Villanueva, (and) Rex Intal. Kasi sila ‘yong pinakamatagal naming nakalaban sa Finals.
What life lessons have you learned from being a volleyball athlete?
Maging magalang. Gumalang sa kahit na sino, sa nakatatanda o hindi ko man kilala, kasi tinuruan kami ni coach (Dante Alinsunurin) na kahit hindi mo kilala, bumati ka. Show respect.
What’s your weirdest experience with a volleyball fan?
Siguro nagugulat lang ako kapag may nagbibigay ng regalo.
Prior to the semis results, which teams do you think will make it to the Final Four?
FEU, NU, Ateneo, and then siguro Adamson.
If ever your team gets into the Finals, which team would you like compete against?
Gusto kong makatapat ‘yong FEU kasi malakas sila. Kapag sila kalaban namin, binubuhos talaga namin lahat. Mas maganda kapagequal ‘yong lakas ng teams.
Interviews were edited for brevity.
Special thanks to John Cas.
Featured image by Roc Verdera.
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