MANILA, Philippines – In her second season as National University's (NU) playmaker, Jasmin Nabor has clearly grown more comfortable in the position.
Nabor became NU's full-time setter in UAAP Season 79, when she was converted from a utility spiker. She has not looked back since, and locked down the position in Season 80.
With the Lady Bulldogs off to a 2-0 start in the women's volleyball tournament, Nabor is only becoming more and more confident – especially after a five-set triumph over Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday.
"Siguro po mas tumaas ang confidence. Siguro mas nagi-improve pa po ang teamwork namin, lalo na kapag gitgitan talaga ang laro. Malaking tulong talaga, tapos nanalo pa," Nabor said of their triumph over the Lady Eagles.
She admits that there were some moments when she got rattled. The Lady Bulldogs led by two sets, but fell apart in the third and fourth frames. All the momentum was on Ateneo's side as they headed to a decider.
But they recovered in the final frame, with Nabor repeatedly linking up with skipper Jaja Santiago on high-percentage plays. She took the game in her own hands down the stretch, firing up three straight aces to seal the deal.
"Kanina, parang nagkakamali ako. Nara-rattle ako kasi hindi ko na alam kung sino ang pakikinggan ko, kung coaches ko ba or teammates ko," admitted Nabor.
Ultimately, she decided to trust in her own decision-making.
"Kailangan kong mas mag-focus sa sarili kong decision," Nabor said. "Makikinig na lang ako sa sinasabi ko."
Nabor's belief in herself worked: she made all the right plays in the final set and drove the final nail in Ateneo's coffin.
"Mas nagfo-focus ako sa sarili kong desisyon," said Nabor, even as she stressed that she listens to the instructions of coach Babes Castillo. "Kapag nasa loob talaga ako ng court, hindi ko na talaga iniisip ang mga nasa labas."
Nabor finished with 11 points – seven of which came on aces – and had 29 excellent sets in the game. After two games, Nabor is averaging 5.67 excellent sets per set for the Lady Bulldogs.
Castillo, for his part, was thrilled with Nabor's effort, especially as the third-year player was the lone setter on his line-up.
"Wala akong pang-sub kay Jasmin, so kanina, hats off ako kay Jasmin. Tina-try niya i-stir 'yung walo, siyam niya na teammates sa loob. So to be able to produce pa rin ng ganoon kadaming aces, hats off talaga ako," said Castillo. "What can I say, but I love her."
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