From star spikers to liberos: Transition not as easy as you think

Being converted from spiker to libero is a tough job and both of UST’s defensive aces know how hard it is. 

Mia Dizon and Gi Reyes both starred as spikers in their respective high schools. As a matter of fact, that is how they got noticed by collegiate scouts and got recruited to play in the UAAP.

However, their dreams to be spikers in college ended when UST coach Kung Fu Reyes told them to make the transition to libero.

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For the 2, manning the floor is a huge adjustment for them, even with their vast experience from high school.

Reyes, now in her 3rd year with the Golden Tigresses, started as an outside hitter when she initially joined the Espana squad, but even then, she was sometimes tasked to be a service and defense specialist.

“Medyo na-pressure lang ako. Kasi before, noong spiker pa ako, ang daming aspects ng pwede mo bawian,” Reyes said. “Kapag wala kang receive, hindi ako makabawi. You just have to push na maayos receive.”

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Dizon, a rookie, shares the same sentiment, despite bagging the Best Receiver award in the UAAP girls volleyball tournament for La Salle Zobel.

“Receiving has been part of my job since high school. Pero yung fact na receiving lang kailangan ko i-focus, kailangan ko mag-double time,” Dizon said. “Nahihirapan lang ako sa pag-adjust as a libero, nakaka-frustrate pag hindi mo nagagawa ng tama.”

True enough, both UST liberos are having a difficult time adjusting, as evidenced by their shaky performances against FEU and Ateneo.

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Coach Kung Fu Reyes would constantly switch from 1 libero to another until he finds the perfect libero that would jive better with his starting 6. For the past games, it was Dizon who has received most of the playing time.

Reyes admits why she was not been getting enough minutes inside the court. “Dati forte ko yung receive, pero ngayon ‘yun yung dahilan kung bakit ako nilalabas,” she said.

“Kinakabahan talaga ako, hindi ko rin masagot kung bakit. Pero pinagp-pray ko nalang na malabas ko sa game yung nilalaro ko sa ensayo,” Reyes said.

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As for the freshman, Dizon does not feel the need to compete with Reyes.

“Ate Gi (Reyes) and I are really close. Parehas kami ng ginagawa sa training. Siya yung isa kong mentor, veteran siya, alam niya yung galawan sa college court,” Dizon said.

“Tulungan lang kami everytime naf-frustrate,” she closed. — By Arylle Magtalas