For Jorelle Singh, winning the V-League championship is sweeter the second time around.
After missing a portion of the elimination round due to a heart condition, the burly spiker helped NU secure back-to-back titles after beating Ateneo anew in the Collegiate Conference finals Wednesday night.
Singh scored 16 points highlighted by 15 kills as the Lady Bulldogs upended the Lady Eagles, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 21-25, 15-4, at the Philsports Arena.
“Sobrang happy kasi finally ito nagawa namin ulit,” she said. “Tapos mas happy siya ngayon kasi alam mo yung feeling na wala kaming guest player. Last year, may guest player kami kaya kami nag-champion. Hindi ko naman sinasabing sila lang dahilan pero I mean, iba pa rin yung solid kami ngayon, na kami lang talaga.”
After the sudden loss of several players like Rica Diolan and Myla Pablo after the UAAP, NU slogged through the Open Conference but still managed to make it to the semifinals.
And with only 11 players on the roster, the Lady Bulldogs weren’t considered as top contenders when this tournament started.
But the wards of assistant coach Edjet Mabbayad, who temporarily took over from the vacationing Roger Gorayeb, exceeded expectations and were hands-down the best team of the league.
“Siguro naman napatunayan na namin ngayon na kahit konti lang kami, kinaya namin, nagawa namin kung ano yung goal ng lahat,” she said. “Siguro yung ngayon mas buo kami, sobrang close naming lahat ngayon. Iba yung bond namin ngayon, sobra.”
As for her career-threatening heart condition, Singh assured the worst is way behind her, as she hopes to continue NU’s winning ways up to UAAP Season 79.
“Wala na sobrang okay na siguro (itong puso ko). Wala na kong problema. Tuluy-tuloy na hanggang UAAP to. Sobrang okay na ko lalo ngayon,” she said.
The roller coaster ride to their back-to-back title was such a huge lesson for Singh, who thought her volleyball days were over.
“Siguro yung nakuha ko ngayon is wag lang susuko talaga, kahit anong problema yung darating, maging matatag ka lang, hanggang sa magawa mo yung gusto mong gawin,” she added.
Only one thing is missing now: a UAAP women’s volleyball championship.
And Singh believes if the Lady Bulldogs continue the path laid down for them, that elusive title will be within their reach.
“Tingin ko kung makikinig kami lagi kila coach sobrang layo nung mararating namin,” she said. “Yung championship ng UAAP tatrabahuin namin hanggang sa magawa namin.” — By John Chester Fajardo