Sports Management major Nicole Albo has been playing badminton ever since she was eight years old. Today, one can see how far she has come from her humble beginnings training with her father to becoming UAAP Season 80’s Most Valuable Player in the women’s division.
Albo began playing because of the influence of her family. According to Albo, her dad and the paternal side of her family has been playing badminton for a while, and when she was eight, she finally started playing with them. “Almost everyone in my father’s side plays badminton so it’s not like it was because of my interest in it, I just started to really like it since my dad was training me already,” she says.
While she did not love it at first, Albo further explains that the more she played the sport, the more she developed an interest in it. Eventually, her love for the sport paved the way for her to go from her simple training sessions with her father to dominating the field on the courts of the UAAP.
Ups and downs
Albo began playing for DLSU when she was still a freshman. Prior to joining the Lady Shuttlers, though, she already had an outside career in badminton, participating in the National Games.
Some time before the games, Albo took a hiatus from the sport, but when she was invited to try out for the team, she took it upon herself to give it a try, “When I stopped playing, someone invited me to play and from there on, I thought that it could be an opportunity to get back in the game, so there; I tried out and got accepted,” she says. She credits the tournament, in which she started playing in 2012, as one of the key factors in improving her game.
Continuing, Albo has been a part of the official lineup of the Lady Shuttlers since 2015, but she took a gap year in 2016 after suffering an injury, causing her to sit Season 79 out. For this reason, the Lasallian was extra motivated to perform, not just well but great, in Season 80.
While Albo mentions that she specializes in singles matches, she shows a lot of impressive and flexible play when she pairs up with Ysay Leonardo in doubles matches against competing schools.
In Season 80, Albo seemed to be an unstoppable force on the court, as she continued to pace her team in every match-up. If there was one thing, however, that would set her back, it would be academics. Having the life of a student-athlete means balancing academics and for Albo that becomes an obstacle between her and playing. She mentions, “There would be days that there would be a lot of requirements,” as the many requirements and projects that would bring her outside the campus would cut from her training time at school.
For family and the country
Albo proves that it’s not about the failure but, instead, about how you get back up. For her, especially, if you have motivation that inspires you to be a stronger person despite the speed bumps, there’s no reason to give up.
For Albo, her inspiration comes from her family and being a state representative. She explains, “Well, you can’t avoid the ups and downs especially on occasions when we lose, it’s sad but in badminton, I use it to be inspired and to motivate myself in order to help my family and to also represent my country.” It is with that mindset that Albo is able to counteract the hard times and how she uses badminton as an avenue for an optimistic perspective on life.
Finally, the hard work and dedication paid off for the Lasallian when she took home the gold for the Lady Shuttlers last October 21, 2017, when DLSU faced off against UP in the finals, wherein Albo won the final match. In addition to the championship, Albo was awarded the title of UAAP Season 80 Most Valuable Player for the women’s division in badminton.
With still three more years of eligibility, the future of DLSU badminton is bright with Nicole Albo in the fold for seasons to come.