Five rookies will be thrown to the fire when Adamson makes its debut in the 2018 PVL Open Conference next weekend at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Blue-chip wing spiker Trisha Genesis, towering middle blocker Krich Macaslang, promising setter Nikka Yandoc, wily libero Nina Balang and ex-Baby Falcon gunner Chen Ave will be on the roster in the team’s final major tournament before the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball wars next year.
In the absence of veterans Eli Soyud and Lea Perez, both of whom will miss at least a month due to injuries, coach Air Padda believes her young guns will step up and fill the void.
“They have all grown tremendously,” she said after Genesis, Macaslang and Yandoc shone bright in their bronze medal-clinching win over UST last week. “I think they’ve grown more than they expected in the amount of time.”
“When you come to college, everything changes. Whatever level you were playing in high school is completely different,” she added. “Two things can happen: either you get scared and get into a hole or you stand up and you rise.”
Padda noted that the trio who saw action in the PVL Collegiate Conference have been revelations in their respective positions and hope that they continue to develop mental toughness when they go up against club teams like Creamline, Pocari Sweat and Banko Perlas.
Against the Golden Tigresses, the three recruits showed grit and composure, helping Adamson overcome a 10-4 deficit in the fourth frame to win the match and the third place.
“The babies were the most fearless out of our whole lineup,” said Padda. “They were the ones who showed the most heart, were the most disciplined. And they were persevering, not scared of anything.”
The American coach wants her wards to keep on trusting the system while also coming out of their shell in the upcoming tournament.
“All three of them have been like a sponge since they’ve been with us. They’re all getting a certain level of training that they’re not used to. And sometimes they have their good days and they have their bad days,” she said.
“But they’re all starting to train the mental part of their game. I think that’s what’s going to take them really, really far,” she said. “The babies are so promising for this program.”
Joining the fray are Ave and Balang, both of whom missed the Collegiate Conference but are raring to showcase their skills against some of the best club teams in the land.
“Chen and Nina are also in the lineup,” Padda shared. “I’m excited because these are babies. They’re just growing. But I know they’re ready and they’re hungry.”