Come next UAAP season, the Lady Spikers shall be leaning on veterans Des Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya and CJ Saga as they seek a 4th straight title.
But higher responsibility and expectations will be surrounding Michelle Cobb and May Luna and how they will perform will have a significant impact on the team’s fortunes in defending the championship.
For Cobb, taking the place of Kim Fajardo at the starting setter position was a tough task. There were doubts at the beginning of the season if the sophomore can handle the pressure of such a critical role in the squad. Fortunately, she managed to prove herself worthy.
Michelle Cobb was an understudy for the legendary Kim Fajardo last season.
This year, she's slowly but surely showing what she has learned. #UAAPSeason80Volleyball pic.twitter.com/EA5MdvGpey
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 14, 2018
She credits her teammates and of course, coach Ramil De Jesus for the trust and confidence especially in times that she was struggling.
“I wouldn’t be here also without the help of my seniors, they really pushed me. And of course, props to coach [Ramil de Jesus] kasi he pushed to my limits and I’m forever thankful, pinudpod niya ako in a way,” the 18-year-old playmaker furthered.
“Ngayon ko lang na-realize na grabe [yung patience ni coach]. Pinagtiyagaan niya ako.
“Ang saya sa feeling kasi siyempre na-repay ko yung hardwork niya sakin, yung effort na binigay niya sakin sa training, na-repay ko yun through the championship. [Sabi ko kay coach] thank you for the trust and believing in me until the end,”
Though still not yet in the same level of Fajardo, she is confident that she will get there in time.
Despite already in her third playing year, Luna has not gotten significant playing time in the elimination round. But when called upon in the matches that matter the most, she delivered. It turns out, she was the surprise package that made a big difference in the Lady Spikers finals conquest over FEU.
May Luna vowed to make an impact in the #UAAPSeason80Volleyball Finals as a tribute for her graduating ates. And with the help of her nine points and Player of the Game honors, La Salle is now one win away from their third-straight title. pic.twitter.com/VxevIKJsGR
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) April 30, 2018
In Game One, Luna tallied 9 points and was named best player of the game. In the title clincher, she played a major part in the team’s comeback trail in the first set.
Her performance in the finals just shows that despite the limited minutes, she is always ready to help the team at any given the opportunity.
“Hopefully po next year [makapag-starting six], aiming po ako pero kahit nasa bench ako o starting six, okay lang talaga kasi part ka rin naman ng team eh. Kung saan yung team, andoon ka,” expressed the third-year Lady Spiker.
“Di mo kailangan na ikaw ang maglaro doon, parang alam mo sa sarili mo na all out support ka nasa bench ka man o naglalaro ka.”
If we follow the path of graduating stars Kim Dy, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili, these two girls are expected to have a breakout in Season 81.