Madriaga feels UE slowly finding its potential
Kizzie Madriaga knows that the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors have more in their tank even after finishing with a bronze in the women’s V-League Collegiate Challenge.
Despite just being together and working on their program for just a little over two months, the Lady Warriors finished strong with a victory over Perpetual Help; and Madriaga believes they will reach their peak through time and hard work as they ramp up in their preparations for the real challenge—the UAAP.
Building on what has been a forgettable Season 85 run, UE recruited from California Academy (CAL) setter Madriaga, dynamic-scorers Casiey Dongallo and Jelai Gajero, libero Gracen Fernandez and coach Obet Vital after the famed high school program’s championship stint in the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Invitational League.
Ushering in a new era, the prized recruits’ chemistry built on having played together for six years already was an important factor for the Lady Warriors’ charge as well as with team captain Madriaga’s leadership.“We already know the strengths and weaknesses of each other. One glance at each other inside the court, among the chaos, we know where to go next,” Madriaga told the Inquirer after the celebrations had died down with UE’s triumph over Perpetual Help.
“That’s what our six years of being together helped accomplish,” she added as the Lady Warriors gear up for the Shakey’s Preseason Championship playoffs where they face a College of St. Benilde squad fresh from a V-League championship tilt.
Vital has also been active in helping UE head coach Jerry Yee steer the Lady Warriors to more success with a new system that their core is slowly adapting.
Madriaga’s role and her chemistry with CAL teammates presented both good and bad problems but the setter is optimistic that as they train more together, they will build stronger connections with everyone to be at par with the tough competition.“I am grateful because they (UE holdovers) have been very open to the changes we brought even if they’re having a hard time adapting to our program. As a captain and rookie, I don’t want to use that position to brag but to help our core reach their full potential,” Madriaga said.
“We already know what the level of competition is, it’s really high especially with NU (National University) and La Salle. We already played with NU and they are really far up which made me realize that we need to work on ourselves more because we still have a lot to conquer … I know we still have a lot to give,” she added.
“[I’m] happy because we got bronze even though we had a lot of struggles and injuries. [I’m] not satisfied because I know we have more to offer in terms of connection, improving on our games where we did not perform well. [We know] we can do more but we’re not able to give our best.” INQ