UAAP: La Salle's Jazareno still striving for higher standard

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2022 03:39 PM

UAAP Media.
La Salle libero Justine Jazareno (5) reacts to a play against the UP Fighting Maroons in their UAAP Season 84 first round match. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University libero Justine Jazareno has been a steady presence for the Lady Spikers through the first round of UAAP Season 84, anchoring a floor defense that ranks second in the league.

Wearing the No. 5 worn by another iconic La Salle libero in Dawn Macandili, Jazareno has appeared unfazed by the pressure that comes not just with the position but also the jersey number that she is wearing.

"Hindi ko masyadong pine-pressure 'yung sarili ko, knowing na 'yung number ko is libero before, sila Ate Dawn," said Jazareno after earning Player of the Game honors in their straight sets victory against the University of the Philippines (UP) on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Against the Fighting Maroons, Jazareno tallied 12 digs and had 11 successful receptions in 17 attempts. Her steady passes also helped the Lady Spikers score 37 kills. 

"Kumbaga, binibigay ko lang 'yung best ko. Pino-focus ko lang 'yung sarili ko, kung ano 'yung darating na game," said Jazareno. 

In her first complete season as La Salle's first-choice libero, Jazareno is leading the league in digs at 5.61 per set; the Lady Spikers rank second in the league in digging and receiving.

"Siguro, tinanggap ko rin 'yung responsibility as a libero. And 'yung trust ng coaches sa akin na every game and every training, kahit naong mangyari, walang babagsak na bola," said Jazareno of her mindset.

But while she shrugs off the pressure of following in the footsteps of a libero as decorated as Macandili, Jazareno is aware that expectations of her will only continue to rise as she puts on one solid performance after another.

Benson Bocboc, La Salle's assistant coach, noted that Jazareno has been consistent in Season 84 but she can still reach a higher level of performance.

"We're still building 'yung connection ni Justine, 'yung pasa niya towards doon sa setting, or 'yung connection niya, 'yung presence niya sa loob together with the other passers," he said.

"Individually, ang skills niya, consistent talaga. Pero still needs improvement, as always. So lagi tayong nag-strive to do better," the coach added. "Pataas ng pataas, hahabulin natin talaga 'yun. So ganoon 'yung hahabulin natin na standard talaga."

Jazareno and the Lady Spikers are back in action on Thursday against Far Eastern University.