UAAP: Rookie Sotomil hailed for stepping up for UP Lady Maroons

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2019 10:22 PM

UAAP: Rookie Sotomil hailed for stepping up for UP Lady Maroons 1
UP's Marianne Sotomil tips the ball over the defense of UST's Sisi Rondina. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines -- Coaches on both side of the net were full of praise for rookie setter Marianne Sotomil, who stepped up for University of the Philippines (UP) on Sunday against University of Santo Tomas (UST).

The Palarong Pambansa standout from Bacolod made the first start of her UAAP career, after veteran playmaker Ayel Estrañero was rushed to a hospital just ahead of their game against the Golden Tigresses due to acute gastroenteritis.

She gave a good account of herself, tallying 32 excellent sets in what turned out to be a four-set loss for UP -- their first setback of the Season 81 women's volleyball tournament.

"We missed Ayel's leadership," acknowledged UP coach Godfrey Okumu after the game. "But Sotomil was great. To me as a coach, all my players are the same."

Even UST coach Kungfu Reyes praised the performance of the rookie setter.

"Bilib din ako sa setter ng UP, si Sotomil. Si Ayel, sana gumaling siya agad, kasi maaring mag-iba ang complexion ng laro kung andoon si Ayel. Pero this time, 'yung bata, makikita mo tumataas na 'yung level ng liga itself," he added.

Estrañero, who returned to the FilOil Flying V Centre after getting treatment, said she was thrilled to see her younger teammate get some serious playing time. Before this game, Sotomil had only gotten few minutes for Okumu.

"She really played well, and was able to contribute to today's game," said the veteran playmaker, who was averaging 7.56 sets per sets in UP's first two games.

"Proud ako sa kanya, kasi na-distribute niya ng maayos ang mga bola," said veteran middle blocker Marist Layug of the rookie.

Sotomil, for her part, said she simply grabbed the opportunity that presented itself.

"Siyempre as a rookie, mayroong ibang feeling, like kaba, pero kailangan ko lang panindigan 'yung opportunity sa akin na makapag-laro kasi wala si Ate Ayel kanina," said Sotomil. "Sinusunod ko lang 'yung mga sinasabi ng coaches."

It helped that Estrañero gave her encouraging words right before the match started, said the rookie.

"(Sinabi niya na) kaya ko 'to," Sotomil related.

And while her first start didn't work out as she would have wanted, it was still an experience that Sotomil treasured.

"Iba talaga 'pag UAAP na, unlike noong preseason tournaments na sinalihan namin," she acknowledged. "Andoon 'yung kaba, pero kailangan ko din mag-step up para sa mga seniors namin."

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