If former basketball star Kenneth Duremdes could have it his way, his niece, Ria, would be continuing her studies and volleyball career in Adamson, the same university he played for in college.
But for the Dumangas, Iloilo native, joining FEU’s women’s volleyball team is a path she wanted to take without one bit of hesitation.
“Tito ko po ‘yung Duremdes na basketball player and at the same time, ninong ko po ‘yun. Sana Adamson ako kasi taga dun siya pero pinili ko talaga FEU,” said the libero.
Unlike other rookies, Duremdes was under the radar prior to Season 78 due to her not seeing as much action in the high school ranks as her contemporaries.
But as it turns out, she was first noticed by the Morayta squad’s coaching staff in the biggest tournament in the juniors’ division back when she was still in her junior year.
On how she got the attention of head coach Shaq delos Santos, she shares, “Nung 3rd year ako, naglaro kami sa Laguna para sa Palarong Pambansa. Doon nanalo ako na Best Libero.”
“Nung 4th year ako national PRISAA, pumunta dun sila coach sa laro. Kinuha nila ako,” she added. “Okay naman ako agad kasi gusto ko din mag FEU dahil dun nag graduate ang lola ko.”
Being recognized as the country’s best libero opens a lot of opportunities for up-and-coming volleyball stars and for the defensive ace, it included scholarship offers from top universities like La Salle, Benilde and Adamson.
Looking back after almost one year of deciding to move to Morayta, there are no regrets for Buding as she is fondly called by her teammates.
“Yes, I made the right decision because ang ganda pag welcome sa akin nila coach. Grabe ‘yung turo nila. Sinusunod ko lahat ng tinuturo nila sa akin at ina-apply ko,” she said.
Currently ranked as 5th best digger and 7th best receiver in the UAAP, Duremdes’ collegiate career is off to a good start, even impressing legendary libero Denden Lazaro.
Fortunately, the pressure of filling the void left by Tin Agno, another A-list floor defender, is not getting into her head.
“Hindi naman ako na-pressure na ang pinalitan ko Tin Agno. Ang gusto ko kasi pagpasok ko sa FEU ‘yung tinuro na nila sa akin at ang nalalaman ko, gusto ko ipakita sa tournament na ito,” said the Lady Tamaraw.
“Wala akong masabing advantage ko sa pinalitan ko kasi ang galing talaga niya. Tsaka rookie pa lang ako. Pero I’ll try my best para sa team,” she added.
Asked about her team’s chances of finally snatching its coveted 30th women’s volley title, Duremdes said hard work is all it takes.
“Kailangan pa po namin sipagin. Kailangan namin ng tiwala sa isa’t isa. Kailangan namin ng tiyaga. Pero ako ang tatanungin, kaya namin manalo ngayong taon,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio