“Siguro, it’s a different kind of pressure.” Michelle Cobb sits on a bench in the Enrique Razon Sports Complex, a day after the Lady Spikers’ win against UE. A year after being put in the line-up for the first time, everything feels different for Cobb; A greater role, an increased level of skill, and, not to mention, thousands of fans. This early in her career, the 19-year old has put the world on her shoulder as she assumed the responsibility of the Lady Spikers’ new starting setter. The LaSallian caught up with Cobb to break it all down, in her own words.
On closing out against the Lady Maroons
Disclaimer: ‘Di ko tinignan yung score, ‘di ko alam na 24-23 when I served. Akala ko 20-23 so sabi ko, “Okay, magseserve lang ako, bahala na kayo diyan.” But [in my mind] I was like, “Papasok ko ‘to.” Syempre ‘pag [I commit the error], crucial error talaga yun. Pero ‘di ko talaga in-expect na 23 na pala yung score namin, so feel ko factor din yun, kasi walang pressure, like ‘di ako nabigatan masyado. Kaya I was like, nung sinabi nila, “Grabe, nung nagseserve ka parang wala lang,” sabi ko, “Weh?” Tapos ayun, siguro I got my rhythm lang noon, kasi diba composed ako kasi I didn’t really mind the score. So I got my rhythm nung naka-service ace ako, tapos ayun, tuloy-tuloy na. As in, relax lang talaga ako noon and feel ko naging factor ‘yun na composed ako, na alam ko gagawin ko.
Becoming DLSU’s starting setter
It’s not being inconsistent na and being effective as a setter. My goal for this season is to fully embrace my role. Hindi na ako matatakot kasi nandito ako, naka-salang na ako. Unlike before, parang sobrang baba ng tingin ko sa sarili ko dati. Ngayon, I’m over it. I’m here, this is my chance to prove myself. I want to prove to everyone na I can stand on my own, that I have a thing on my own. Pero sa sarili ko, I want to prove to myself that I can embrace this role.
I expected na there will be a lot of comparisons, from the start palang. Hindi ko naman sila masisisi kasi sobrang memorable nung pinalitan ko [Kim Fajardo]. So they can say whatever they want, kasi they have a right to say what they think. ‘Di rin naman magiging smooth yung transition.
What I focused on during the offseason
I can’t really compare it to season kasi iba e, ngayon parang lahat na. Before kasi, I was setting certain plays lang, pero ngayon lahat incorporated. So I can’t really tell na may isa akong finocus on kasi lahat—defense, service, blocking, set plays, combination plays—lahat, nag-incorporate na siya. Kasi, as a main setter, if I were to compare myself being the second setter, iba. Sobrang iba.
Yeah, kasi malakas naman katawan namin, conditioned kami. Pero before, noong mga tune-up games, coach would say “Bakit ganyan kayo gumalaw? Conditioned katawan niyo, pero kulang yung isip ninyo.” So yun, more on [the] mental [aspect]. Did my improvement from last season surprise me?
Of course, yeah. Siguro kasi pinukpok talaga ako [during the] offseason. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged. Like the past October to February, as in, sinagad ako sa comfort zone ko and I feel like yung ganoong challenges, they define you as a player. So thankful ako na pinush ako ni coach out of my comfort zone and pushed me to my limits.
Kasi syempre ako yung bago sa first six, so yung five na yun, they’ve played before as a team, so sa akin palagi yung criticisms. Pero looking back, siguro naging close-minded ako kasi, [I thought] “Ano ba yan, bakit ako palagi pinapagalitan?” Pero ngayon, naisip ko na dapat lang pala, kasi it’s going to test me, it’s going to test my character.
Marami eh, one would be being consistent. Siguro yung pinakachallenge ko is mindset. Kasi diba, mahirap if kalaban mo sarili mo? Pinakamahirap yun. So feel ko ako yung magiging mahirap na kalaban ko kasi, syempre lalo na sa upcoming big games, ikaw na yun eh, parang, how do I say this? Like last time, noong NU game, ako talaga yun. Sarili ko talaga nagpatalo sa akin so I had to overcome that and feel ko yun nga yung magiging challenge sa akin, kasi as time passes by, makakaadjust yung mga teams eh, they got to see na how the teams play.