MANILA, Philippines – Despite her surprising decision to forego her final season of eligibility and "graduate" from the Lady Eagles, star setter Jia Morado remains in full support of the Ateneo women's volleyball team.
Indeed, just a couple of months after leaving the team, Morado is as close as she can get to the squad without actually suiting up for the Lady Eagles.
This, after the setter agreed to become an assistant coach for Ateneo during the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference, which started on Saturday.
"Sometimes kasi, I train with Ateneo just to keep in condition," said Morado, who is coming off her first conference with the Creamline Cool Smashers. "While I'm training with them, minsan I teach the setters, may input akong nabibigay."
"They asked me if I wanted to try being an assistant coach, para extra help din kay Coach Tai (Bundit), especially with warm-ups and sa drills," she added.
It was a good debut for Morado as an assistant coach, as the Lady Eagles made quick work of Jose Rizal University in their first game of the PVL Collegiate Conference, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15.
However, Morado admits that her new role will take some getting used to.
"I was weird," she admitted. "Pero I was happy with how the girls were moving and communicating inside the court."
"Siguro, iba 'yung perspective ko from outside the court," Morado added. "Natutunan ko today na iba talaga 'yung feeling when you're playing inside the court."
"It really takes a lot of getting used to, kung paano ko kakausapin 'yung girls, and paano ko sila matutulungan."
Morado has no doubts, however, that her former teammates will put up a good showing in the PVL Collegiate Conference. As early as now, her successor as Ateneo's setter, Deanna Wong, is showing plenty of potential.
In her first game as Ateneo's full-time playmaker, Wong tallied 32 excellent sets on top of six points, which included two service aces. The Lady Eagles' offense was well-distributed, with four players scoring in double-digits.
"I believe in all the setters of Ateneo," said Morado. "They're pretty talented and skilled. All they need is exposure."
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