MANILA, Philippines – Former University of the Philippines (UP) standouts Kathy Bersola and Nicole Tiamzon got one up over their former teammates after they led BanKo-Perlas to victory over the young Lady Maroons on Wednesday night.
Tiamzon scored 15 points, including back-to-back clutch hits in the final stretch, while Bersola had 14 points including five kill blocks, as the Spikers downed UP, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21, 25-18, for their second win in the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Open Conference.
It was quite the strange feeling for Tiamzon and Bersola, who starred for the Lady Maroons for the past five seasons and led them to a breakthrough Final 4 appearance in the UAAP Season 78 tournament. Their final year in Katipunan was a letdown, however, as they fell short of another semifinals stint.
Wednesday's game marked the first time that Tiamzon and Bersola, now club players, faced off against their former teammates.
"I don't know what to feel," admitted Tiamzon after the game. "Tinatanong kami – o, sino next na kalaban. UP. Ha, UP?"
"Naglalaban kami before sa training – seniors out tapos 'yung mga bata, ine-expose. Pero sa training. Pero 'yung sabihin mo na live game, this is the first time na nangyari," she added.
[I don't know what to feel, especially when people asked us who we're playing next. We've played against them before, but only in practice. This is the first time we've played against them in a live game.]
Yet both Tiamzon and Bersola also thoroughly enjoyed their game against the Lady Maroons, especially as they got the chance to see how much their former teammates had improved since the UAAP season concluded.
"Sobrang nakaka-excite," said Tiamzon. "Parang, anong gagawin nila, 'di ba? Gets namin ang laro ng isa't isa. So paano kami pupuntos, paano kami maga-adjust sa isa't isa?"
[It's exciting. We were trying to figure out what they were going to do, since we know how each other plays.]
"Masaya kasi kilala ko sila, and siyempre, first time ko silang makaharap na hindi ako part ng team," said Bersola. "Excited ako, from the start pa lang."
[I was happy to play them, since this is the first time I've faced off against them. I was excited right from the start.]
The two former UP stars believe the Lady Maroons have a bright future ahead of them. New skipper Diana Carlos and Isa Molde gave BanKo-Perlas great trouble all throughout the match, combining for 42 points.
Young middle blocker Maris Layug also showed signs of potential, tallying 10 points including two kill blocks.
"Siyempre, marami pa silang tatrabahuhin," Bersola said. "Pero intact pa rin naman, tatlo lang kaming nawala. So kaya namang punan. Matagal pa naman, kaya pa nilang trabahuhin 'yun."
[They still have a lot to work on, but they're still intact. There's a long way to go before the UAAP, so they have time to work on their game.]
"Malaki ang potential nila," said Tiamzon. "Naniniwala ako sa kanila na kaya talaga next season."
[They have great potential. I believe that they can still compete next season.]
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.