Kim Gequillana steps up as Ateneo secures playoff slot

Losing an Alyssa Valdez left a big hole in the Ateneo attacking force, but it seems the Lady Eagles are slowly adapting with their young lineup as former role players continue to shine in the absence of the Phenom.

This time, Kassandra Gequillana provided the spark as Ateneo disposed the lowly UST Golden Tigresses Monday to secure at least a playoff for one of the 13th Shakey’s V-Leage Collegiate Conference semis berths.

Gequillana poured 13 points in an all-around performance featuring 7 attack points, 3 blocks and 3 service aces.

“Ang saya ng feeling kasi naka-contribute ka specially nakita mo na kailangan ng tulong ng teammates mo, so sobrang happy ako na naka-step up ako this game,” Gequillana said.

“Ngayon naga-adjust pa kami, ang daming repositioning. Konti konti, step by step, naga-adjust kami and nasasanay na kami saan kami pupunta. Alam na namin responsibility namin sa court.”

Last season, the open hitter played limited roles behind Valdez and Maddie Madayag, often subbing in as a service specialist.

But this year, Gequillana has no choice but to raise the bar as the Eagles try to move on following the exit of their stars.

“Malaki na yung responsibility so alam ko na na kailangan talaga mag-step up and maging more confident ako. Mas lalo ko pa ipakita sa teammates ko especially sa mga rookies namin kasi I serve as a role model sa team,” she said.

Gequillana credited coach Tai Bundit for preparing her for this bigger role.

“Last season was an experience for me. Yung goal ni coach Tai na sina-sub in ako out of nowhere para maka-gain din ako ng confidence next season kasi alam nya na mas kailangan ako this year.”

Asked where she got the renewed confidence, the soft-spoken incoming fourth year said it was all in the mind.

“I think yung mindset talaga. Kasi dati nandun pa si ate [Alyssa Valdez at Amy Ahomiro], yung role ko sa team hindi pa ganun kalaki but now yung mindset na kailangan ko paghirapan, tapos yung paghihirap dapat di sya masayang,”  Gequillana said. – By John Chester Fajardo 

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