Eyes on the prize: Returning Sato hopes to help NU win UAAP title
MANILA, Philippines—Risa Sato isn’t lacking in confidence as she makes her return to National University for the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament.
The bubbly middle blocker expects nothing less than a championship for the Lady Bulldogs in her fifth collegiate year.
“Champion,” exclaimed when Sato was asked about her expectations for 2020.
“Of course we shouldn’t forget that we should play happy and with focus to become champions,” she added in Filipino.
Sato missed Season 81 due to academic problems after she had a couple of subject deficiencies in her Sport and Wellness Management course in her third year at NU.
Nevertheless, that setback didn’t dampen Sato’s spirits especially with head coach Norman Miguel naming her as the Lady Bulldogs’ captain for Season 82.
“I told my teammates that we shouldn’t forget our goal of becoming the champions this season,” said Sato. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on my younger teammates so I always remind them to have fun while playing.”
Sato was with the Lady Bulldogs during the Jaja Santiago era wherein the team was considered as one of the better squads in the league.
Those Santiago-led teams, however, only made the Final Four once from Season 78-80 when it locked the fourth seed in 2018 with a 7-7 record before falling to eventual champion De La Salle.
Sato said NU already had the pieces to compete for a title during those years, and it was unfortunate that they weren’t able to go all the way.
“We can become the champions during those years but it’s just unfortunate that we couldn’t do it,” said Sato. “But I feel that this year we can do it and we can get the title.”
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