When NU Lady Bulldogs rookie setter Joyme Cagande went down to injury, huge adjustments had to be made especially that there are no other natural playmakers left in the roster.
Bulk of these adjustments fell on the shoulders of Jennifer Nierva, a freshman libero who has spent years perfecting her connection with Cagande and helping the Nazareth School of National University’s girls’ volleyball program to become of the country’s finest.
First order of business for Nierva? Higher first ball for converted setter Joni Chavez.
“First adjustment, higher po ang receive tsaka hindi pwedeng close sa net kasi hindi pa sanay si Ate Joni (Chavez) mag jump set ng close. Kailangan two meters away from the net. Specific talaga sa training,” she told Volleyverse.
“Iniisip ko lang lagi na hindi na si Joyme ‘yung setter ko. Kailangan adjust agad ako. Dapat every situation mindful ako na hindi dapat ididikit sa net. ‘Yung gagalawin ko kailangan mas mapapadali ‘yung role ni Ate Joni kasi nga beginner lang siya,” she added.
Despite carrying a 1-2 win-loss record after the DLSU game, the F. Jhocson squad once again earned the respect of volleyball fans with their grit and the never-say-die attitude even if their backs are often pressed against wall as underdogs.
On the silver lining she sees after what the Lady Bulldogs went through, the libero shares: “‘Yun ang ikinaganda: Lumalabas ang performance ng bawat isa. Nagiging creative kami at humahanap kami ng way para mapadali ang trabaho ng isa’t isa.”
In the two games she played so far, Nierva has been nothing but impressive with an average of 18.5 excellent digs and 13 excellent receptions. But more than her personal feats, she is more inclined in celebrating the positive vibes they are developing on-court.
“I’m super proud of my team kasi kahit ganito ‘yung situation namin, maganda ‘yung attitude na pinapakita namin every single game,” she closed, beaming from ear to ear.