The UAAP season 77 volleyball awardees L-R: Best Blocker: Marevvis Menses UST; Best Attacker: Jaja Santiago NU; Best Scorer; Best Server; MVP: Alyssa Valdes ADMU; Best Digger: Christine Agno FEU; Best Setter: Julia Morado ADMU; Best Libero: Denise Lazaro ADMU; Rookie of the Year: Kathleen Arado UE, EJ laure UST. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – "Nawala 'yung 0-14." This was University of the East coach Francis Vicente's reaction after seeing his promising freshman libero, Kathleen Arado, become one of the Rookies of the Year of the UAAP Season 77 women's volleyball tournament.
Arado shared the award with University of Santo Tomas rookie Ennajie Laure, though it was the UE libero who had the higher statistical point output.
"Super hindi ko po talaga inexpect," a surprised Arado told ABS-CBNnews.com after the awarding ceremonies Saturday. "Sinabi ko po na maraming mas magaling sa akin, at marami po kaming first year, kaya hindi po ako nag-expect na makukuha ko ito."
Vicente, who stunned many in the volleyball community when he revealed on social media that his player had won the award, could not hide his delight.
"Nawala 'yung 0-14 eh. Parang naging masaya ako inspite na ganoon 'yung standing – we had an award, tapos nakikita ko 'yung mga stat, ang taas at the end. So very happy ako," said Vicente, who was unable to lead the Lady Warriors to a single win in his first year in charge of the team.
"Meron ng sinisimulan eh," added Vicente. "Ang pinaka-key ay mga award na ganyan. Sunod-sunod na siguro 'yan."
Arado shares her coach's optimism.
"Siguro po, ito na 'yung start ng UE para makatulong sa school, at ma-improve 'yung school namin," she said.
"Sa pagka-kuha ko ng (award), siguro po gagawin ko itong motivation para sa team naming, para mas umangat pa po 'yung team naming at maging halimbawa sa team namin, para sabay-sabay kaming umakyat," she added.
Vicente has made no secret that he is planning to make changes in the UE line-up for next season, but he emphasized that Arado is "safe."
"She's safe, she's safe, because she is a caliber player," he said. "Ang sinasabi kong caliber player, somebody who wants to win. Hindi pe-pwedeng just wants to play – it's winning."