Coming into the matchup against FEU at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday, UP skipper Kathy Bersola had a lot of things on her mind.
Aside from her lukewarm performance in Season 78 in their first 4 outings, Bersola also had to deal with the thought of going back and playing in the same venue where she suffered a massive knee injury just a year ago.
“Kanina nung before game, kinukwento ko sa mga rookies, ‘Alam niyo ba dito ako na-injure? Once pa lang ako nakakapaglaro dito.’” she opened up.
“The night before the game iniisip ko rin siya. What if malas ako dito sa MOA? Ang daming what ifs sa utak ko pero kanina tinatawanan ko na lang siya,” added the middle blocker.
Willing her self to shrug off the negative thoughts, Bersola soldiered on and battled the Lady Tamaraws without fear in her heart and in her mind.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko nagpagod ako ng 7 and a half months at nag training tapos hahayaan ko lang na kainin ako ng ganung thought? I did my best talaga in this game,” shared the Makati native.
Like a story fit for a movie, the Season 76 best blocker awardee had a breakout game, finally showing her old form via 18 points to top score for the Lady Maroons.
The ending was bittersweet, however, as the Diliman squad yielded in five sets despite getting many chances at shutting the doors on FEU.
“Sobrang disappointed kasi sayang eh. Gustong gusto talaga namin talunin ang FEU,” she said while shaking her head in frustration. “Kinapos talaga eh. Lalo na dun sa 3rd set, it was ours na. Ang layo na ng lamang hindi ko alam bakit nahabol pa nila. Hindi ko alam bakit nangyari ‘yun.”
On blowing an 8-point lead in the 3rd frame, she adds, “Wala naman silang ginawang special. Wala namang isang tao sa kanila na espesyal na superhuman na pumupuntos. Ready kami sa kanila pero it all fell apart.”
On a positive note, Bersola’s vow to return to her lethal form has been fulffilled which somehow softened the blow of the defeat.
“Obviously I’ve been struggling for the first few games. Nung times na ‘yun tinatanong na din ako nila coach kung nasaan ako. Sobrang down talaga ako,” said the Makati Schience High School alumna. “Bonus na ‘yung game na ito sa akin kasi nakabawi nga ako. Na-realize ko pwede pala na ‘yung middle ginagamit talaga.”
But if you ask her if there is a moral victory in the defeat that caused the team to drop to a 2-3 record, Bersola’s answer is a flat-out no.
“Thinking about it, honestly, I can’t see it. No moral victory in this loss,” she admitted.
Nasaan na ‘yung moral victory dun? Lamang ka na ng 8 tapos natalo ka pa. ‘Yung 5th set nag 6-1,” she added. “We didn’t meet our expectations kaya I can’t see the moral victory. Right now, savour the pain muna then go back to training.” — By Mac Dionisio