Once one of UAAP’s best, Wendy Semana is turning back the clock

It wasn’t an ideal circumstance how Wendy Semana got back her starting spot with Air Force but she will make every moment count as they enter the semifinals of the 13th Shakey’s V-League Open Conference.

While she is one of the top setters—if not the top setter—during her stint with FEU in the UAAP, Semana’s playing time in the past years has since decreased with Air Force’s coaching staff giving more minutes to the younger and taller Rhea Dimaculangan.

Naturally, the former UAAP champion’s confidence took a blow as she spent more and more time on the bench.

“Siyempre medyo malungkot ako noon kasi gusto ko maglaro. Alam ko naman kung saan ko ilulugar ‘yung sarili ko. Hinayaan ko lang,” she told FOX Sports. “Hindi naman bumaba ang morale ko. Magka-team kami eh. Suportahan dapat ang isa’t-isa. Tsaka respeto na lang sa kung ano ang desisyon ng coach.”

This is now nothing but a thing of the past as Dimaculangan, along with Maika Ortiz, has since left the Jet Spikers to join Foton in the Philippine SuperLiga.

The development has provided Semana a chance to once again be at the helm of her team’s offense, delivering in leading the squad to the post-season when she was called back for duty.

“Malungkot na nakakapanghinayang, ‘yun ang naramdaman ko nung nawala sila,” she said, talking about losing her teammates. “Three years na sila sa service eh. Mas priority namin ang pagiging sundalo. Sinusuportahan kami dito sa paglalaro kaya nakakalaro pa din kami.”

Air Force has moved on from the heartbreak of losing its 2 star players and proved that the team is still a force to be reckoned with in the club leagues, using team work as its main weapon against their star-studded opponents.

Being an effective team captain for the veteran-laden crew, Semana revealed 2 words that have served as the foundation of their successful campaign so far: respect and trust.

“‘Yung motivation ko sa kanila napaka-powerful eh: respect and trust,” shared the former Lady Tamaraw. “Kasi kahit ano ang motivate na gawin ko sa kanila, kung wala silang respeto at tiwala sa akin, hindi sila susunod sa akin.”

“Sa training kasi, pinapakita ko sa kanila bago ko i-demand na gawin nila para maniwala sila sa akin. Bale I lead by example,” she added.

And though she admits that the younger setters like Kim Fajardo and Jia Morado have already taken her place atop the best setters’s list, Semana gamely indulged a quick throwback on her celebrated career as a playmaker during her collegiate years.

“Ang tatak ko noon, ang sinasabi nila ay Pilita Corales,” she said, talking about her back-bending skills. “And si ma’am Mozzy Ravena, palagi niyang sinasabi na lagi akong NR (no reaction) every time na naglalaro ako. Lagi kasi akong naka-focus sa laro kaya hindi ako nag smile. Hanggang ngayon ganun pa din ako.”

With constant intense training, Semana believes she can be competitive again but going back to her lethal form is not going to happen.

“Hindi na maibabalik ng 100% ‘yun. Siguro hanggang 90% na lang,” she said.

Volleyball has now skyrocketed to one of the top favorite Filipino sports and Semana and her teammates back in Season 69-70 should be partly credited for the success.

But getting the recognition is the least of her concerns now as she believes her time has come and gone already.

“Basta ako, kung ano ‘yung laro ko, kung ano ako, ‘yun lang. Hindi naman kailangan makilala. Marami namang nakakakilala sa akin before,” she shared.

“Pana-panahon lang ‘yan. Dati kami nila (Rachel) Daquis pero pana-panahon eh. Pero kaya ko pa rin naman makipagsabayan,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio