With their debut campaign in UAAP Season 85 coming to a close, all can attest to the impact that rookie DLSU Lady Spikers Angel Canino and Amie Provido have brought to the court as relative newcomers to the squad of legendary La Salle mentor Ramil De Jesus.
After a rollercoaster of emotions and several important lessons, the fan favorites look back on how they adjusted to the collegiate level after being high school superstars.
Finding the rhythm
Forging ahead in unfamiliar territory, the two rookie spikers share that they felt anxious advancing from secondary to collegiate-level volleyball. The new system and intensity made things difficult for the five-foot-ten middle blocker Provido. The Ilongga looks back, “Kasi ‘yung pinanggalingan kong high school, iba talaga ‘yung system—more on basic lang, so pagdating ko dati nahirapan talaga ako.“
(The system I came from in high school was very different; it was more basic—coming here was a challenge.)
Amid coping with the new setting, both super rookies didn’t back down as they pushed themselves to adapt swiftly to the system of the Lady Spikers. While adjusting to any new team is never easy, the rookies were fortunate to have the guidance of the legendary DLSU Women’s Volleyball program’s seniors and coaches, who brought teaching the sport’s conventions and dynamics to an intermediate level. Eventually, they found their rhythm and were able to adjust accordingly. “Naging smooth naman ‘yung adjustment ko dahil sa mga teammates and coaches ko na nag-guide sakin,” Canino mentions.
(My adjustment was smooth because of the teammates and coaches that guided me.)
Coming from a busy off-season on the court and transitioning to college life off it, the rookies have had their fair share of challenges as student-athletes. Luckily, they have their “ate”s to lean on—not only inside the court but also as they navigate their respective collegiate journeys.
Knowing the wisdom the older sisters of the team have, Canino says she learned to look up to the seniors both in competition and in their studies. “So ‘pag may kailangan akong tulong inside the court, sila ‘yung tinatakbuhan ko dahil sila ‘yung marami nang alam…madami akong realizations na tama nga sila dahil napagdaanan na nila ‘yun.” While she became the “super rookie” on the court, she admits that she still faces the same challenges as every other student outside the court, “‘Pag kailangan ko talaga ng tulong, especially academics, nandun sila; tinutulungan talaga nila ako and ‘di nila ako pinapabayaan.”
Like her co-rookie, Provido reiterates the wisdom their seniors provide, having been student-athletes at DLSU for a longer time. Under the guidance of coaches and managers, academics still remains a top priority for them, and their ates have been keen on making sure they don’t take their eyes off the ball, while providing sufficient time to study well.
Being a rookie in any team means starting on a new level. It gives one the opportunity to showcase their skills while still having plenty of room for improvement. Provido shares how she aims to build a stronger connection with her teammates. Other than refining her skills, Provido is working on displaying her aggressiveness on the court as well as building her teammate’s trust in her—especially her crucial connection with the setters.
Canino also believes that the team has come far and that they are more than ready to face all the teams. “Sobrang tagal namin tong pinaghandaan para bitawan lang… kaya namin until the end.”
(We have been preparing for a long time just to let go… we will fight until the end.)
Up for battle
To be a Lady Spiker is to have a strong fighting spirit. As UAAP Season 85 boils down to its final sets, the rookies still continue to express the excitement to play and eagerness to win that they brought every time they stepped onto the arena. With their tallest task yet in front of them, Canino shares her determination to face each one of her opponents “gusto ko silang makalaban at matalo,” she utters.
Echoing her teammate’s sentiments, Provido assures the Lasallian community that the team will do their best to fight no matter what happens to get the crown. She further expresses hope in getting the support they need and how it is extremely appreciated in light of having their spirit and energy boosted.
The pair of rookies need the support of the Lasallian community more than ever this season as the Lady Spikers vie for their long-awaited return to the top of collegiate volleyball against the reigning champions, the NU Lady Bulldogs. The slated contest—the potentially decisive Game Two of the best-of-three finals—takes place later today, May 14, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.