Rookie Samonte earns praise of Ateneo teammates
Jules Samonte is just in her first year with Ateneo, yet she proved that she can roll with the big girls.
With Ateneo resting outside hitter Jhoana Maraguinot in its match against De La Salle at the culmination of the elimination round of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament, Samonte was immediately entrusted with the role of being one of the Lady Eagles’ primary scoring options.
And Samonte delivered.
Samonte finished with 10 points in the four-set win, 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19, in a match where she earned the appreciation of the Ateneo veterans, including Maraguinot.
“I’m really proud of Jules, and the funny thing was before the game started I was giving her instructions and she was hugging me saying ‘Ate Jho, Ate Jho,’” said Maraguinot. “I told her to just relax and that she can do it. And she delivered, I’m so proud of her.”
Skipper Jia Morado said the absence of Ateneo’s primary point-getter wasn’t much of an issue.
Morado also said she was happy Samonte was finally given the chance on such a big of an occasion.
“We’re really proud of her because we’ve been waiting for her to get a chance to play,” said Morado as her team topped the eliminations with a 12-2 record Saturday. “We know that she’ll always be ready to deliver every time. We see how hard she works in practices and it translated to the game today and that makes us very proud.”
Mich Morente, who had 14 points in the game against De La Salle, was amazed with how Samonte was able to carry herself especially in a rivalry game.
“I was speechless,” said Morente. “She stepped up, and can you imagine that she’s only a rookie and she was the one who stepped up for us. I’ll admit I was a little bit shaky during the game but watching Jules score those points made me feel confident about myself.”
“That’s a rookie who displayed such bravery and she inspired me in my performance.”
For middle blocker Bea De Leon, who herself is not afraid to show emotions on and off the court, the performance of Samonte in their 12th win was nothing short of magical.
“If you’re going to compare her performance to mine, it’s a lot harder for her because I at least have the experience but Jules was the lucky pick for the biggest game that we played,” said De Leon who also finished with 14 points. “And Jules delivered. She’s a natural, she’s been doing really well in training, and we’ve always waited for her to get this break and we’re very happy about it.”