Amid injuries, captain Jerrili Malabanan keeps FEU together in win over Adamson
MANILA, Philippines—Jerrili Malabanan knew she had to show her leadership when Far Eastern University was dealt with not just one but two injuries against Adamson University in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
Middle blocker Jeanette Villareal sprained her right ankle late in the first set and rookie star Lycha Ebon also suffered her own injury when her right knee buckled early in the fifth set.
The Lady Tamaraws were clearly in shambles but Malaban knew she had to keep her team together as her teammates calm team captain.
Her leadership, together with the team’s spirited play, allowed FEU to escape in five sets, 30-32, 25-20, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13, Sunday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
“After Lycha went down, we kind of huddled and we told each other that we would play for them,” said Malabanan. “It would be harder for them knowing that we lost and then they weren’t able to do anything. So we really offered the game for them.”
Malabanan, though, wasn’t just trying to keep her team in check since she herself struggled with her offense for most of the game.
FEU head coach George Pascua even decided to bench Malabanan the entirety of the third set and only use her captain as a substitute in the fourth.
Malabanan, though, got her mojo back and came up big in the clutch for the Lady Tamaraws when she put her at the 14-13 match point with a well-placed kill that landed mere inches from the baseline.
“Like what coach always tells me since I’m the captain he wants me to be the one leading the team on the court,” said Malabanan, who finished with eight points. “When he takes me off the court he always tells me that it’s my time to recoup and refocus.”
“When I get back in, I know how I can really help the team.”
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