Humble heroine: Cobb just did it for the team
It was just De La Salle’s second game in the young UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament, and yet the atmosphere inside Filoil Flying V Centre felt like the Lady Spikers were one slip away from losing their crown.
University of the Philippines needed just one point to extend the match to a fourth set and take a crack at sending it to a fifth, but the Lady Maroons didn’t have their fate in their hands.
It was La Salle’s possession and young Michelle Cobb made her way to the service line with one simple instruction in mind—just get it over.
The Lady Spikers were up 2-0 in sets, but trailed UP 24-23 in the third set, and it was up to Cobb to send the Lady Maroons back to Diliman.
Pressure mounted on the 18-year-old Cobb because she knew that one slip would allow UP a chance for the victory, but with Ramil De Jesus putting his trust on her the setter knew she would deliver.
“Actually I can’t breath during that time, but all I thought about was coach Ramil telling me to just get the ball over and just trust myself,” said Cobb in Filipino. “He told me that my heart and my mind should dominate the situation.”
The charming setter breathed a low sigh, then let go of her first serve with the ball landing square in UP’s porous defense.
Cobb’s fifth service ace of the match tied the set at 24-24, now La Salle just has to score two more points to secure the victory.
“I just composed myself and I told myself to go for it one at a time,” said Cobb who was well aware of the noise that enveloped the arena. “I just held on to the trust coach Ramil and my teammates gave me and I don’t want to waste it.”
And as the bipartisan crowd exchanged cheers and jeers, Cobb once again composed herself and would score her sixth and seventh service aces giving La Salle the 25-21, 25-22, 26-24 victory.
It was at that moment, when UP failed to return her final serve that Cobb knew she did her job and give La Salle a 2-0 record to tie National University atop the standings.
“My teammates and I all wanted to finish the game in three sets and coach was always telling me that we should work hard for each point,” said Cobb who finished with 10 points and 32 excellent sets.
And even though Cobb finally had her own moment in the limelight, the comparisons to the iconic Kim Fajardo still won’t go away.
Cobb, however, made it a point that she won’t compare herself to Fajardo, a three-time UAAP Best Setter, and that she would make a name for herself through her own style and achievements.
“I’m not thinking of those comparisons, I have my own thing,” said Cobb who became Fajardo’s teammate in her first year. “I want to prove that I am my own player, I have my own style, I have my own skills on the way I play.”
Cobb’s late-game heroism may have been the beginning of her notoriety in the UAAP but she knows the UP game was over and a new match is just another beginning for her.
“I won’t settle for these past two games,” said Cobb. “After this I will go back to the very start and prepare for the next game.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.