MANILA, Philippines -- Edward Camposano felt almost like a rookie once again when he made his debut for National University in the UAAP Season 82 men's volleyball tournament earlier this month.
A former star for University of the East, Camposano has not played collegiate volleyball since 2017. He transferred to National U in December of that year, and sat out the next two seasons.
In his first game for the Bulldogs, the former Rookie of the Year had 19 points on 15 kills and 4 blocks as the defending men's champions toppled University of Santo Tomas in four sets. In their next game, he contributed eight points in a sweep of Adamson University.
"Sobrang saya po, kasi po parang first time ko bumalik na naglaro," Camposano said after his first game, wherein the Bulldogs needed to weather an inspired performance from the Tiger Spikers for a 27-25, 23-25, 25-19, 27-25 triumph.
For Camposano, the key to his performance is his trust in NU coach Dante Alinsunurin and his tried-and-tested system.
The Bulldogs have had plenty of success in recent years, and are targeting a third straight men's volleyball crown this season. With Alinsunurin at the helm, the program has produced national team players, including star open spiker Bryan Bagunas.
Camposano thus has put his full trust in the coach and in what he wants the team to do.
"'Yung sistema po kasi namin ang magpapanalo sa amin," he says. "'Yun lang po ang sinasabi sa amin lagi ni coach - mag-focus lang sa sistema."
"Sumunod lang po kami sa mga pinapagawa sa amin ni coach, para magbunga 'yung mga pinaghihirapan namin sa ensayo," he added.
Alinsunurin, for his part, has kept his expectations of Camposano modest. He is the first to point out that the player has not competed in the UAAP for two years, and playing in club leagues cannot quite compare to the collegiate level.
"Nakukulangan lang talaga ako, kasi and'yan pa 'yung mga unforced errors," the coach said of Camposano. "Siyempre siguro, gigil na gigil kasi ngayon na lang ulit. Two years na siya napahinga, then ngayon na lang ulit."
"Sabi ko sa kanya, mag-relax lang muna," he added. "Importante is 'yung ginagawa namin, masunod pa rin. Kahit nagkakamali ka, intindihin mo 'yung focus mo sa laro, kung ano maitutulong mo sa team."
Camposano and the rest of the Bulldogs are currently at the top of the league standings with a 2-0 record, though it remains to be seen when they can return to action as all UAAP activities are suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regardless of when they can play again, Alinsunurin assures that he and the NU coaching staff will do all they can to maximize Camposan's talents.
This, as Alinsunurin has long wanted to coach a player of Camposano's caliber.
"Matagal ko nang kinukuha 'yan," Alinsunurin said of Camposano. "Siyempre, masaya ako na 'yun nga, na andito na siya. Sabi ko nga, pagbibigyan kita, and kung ano man ang pwede ko maitulong sa'yo, para sa career mo sa volleyball, is gagawin ko."
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