by David Tristan Yumol
A bright future awaits the University of the Philippines (UP) Lady Maroons as seven talented rookies were recruited to play for Season 78 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament.
Among the bunch of fresh talents aiming to change the losing tradition of UP in the past seasons is outside hitter Maria Isabel “Isa” Molde, who stood out with her solid performance during the first few games of the Lady Maroons.
Molde, a recruit out of Hope Christian High School volleyball program, is averaging 15.7 points per game in the last three games of the team. This helped the team have a 2-2 win-loss card tied with the Far Eastern University in the fourth spot early in the season.
“It was our mantra in the team to always smile and play better inside the court. I think that contributed to my good performances in our last games,” Molde said after repulsing Adamson University Lady Falcons in four sets last Wednesday.
However, their previous game against the San Marcelino-based spikers was not light in terms of playing antics inside the court than their first three games of the season.
It was the game that tested Molde’s character in her young playing career. The Lady Falcons employed jeering antics in the court to distract the chemistry of the rookie-laden Lady Maroons.
“I did not experience those antics when I was in high school,” she said.
Despite being baptized by the real playing atmosphere in the collegiate league, Molde did not really care of the taunting at the net and just used it as an inspiration to win.
“I’m not used with that kind of situation in the game but really, we all laughed about what they did to us in distracting our mindset inside the court,” Molde said in jest.
Molde also assured that after her experience with Adamson, she will be more prepared in the psychological war happening inside the court.
“Aside from the basics of the game, I will prepare for this scenario especially in tight matches. It is part of the game,” she said.
With her continuing good performances in the college ranks, Molde, a force to be reckoned with as one of the future of the Philippine volleyball, draws inspiration from her family and the UP community every time she plays.
“Their support is very important in motivating me to play better in every game,” Molde said.
She admitted, however, that there are some areas to improve on her game as it will be essential in her maturity as a player under the Jerry Yee-mentored squad.
Molde explained, “I have to work on my defense, especially in blocking. That’s my weakness.”
Further, Molde underscored the importance of being a team player in the squad to achieve the right chemistry and reach the Final Four after almost making it last season. UP placed sixth in Season 77 with a 5-9 slate.
“I can say that our game will level up this year. So, the excitement is there and I encourage my fellow students to support us in any way,” said Molde.
Truly, it was a good start for the young Molde in molding her to be a better player with a fighting heart and determined attitude to reach the pinnacle of success in the coming years.