Jia Morado was asked during her recent guesting in ABS-CBN Sports + Action’s The Score about the current UAAP player that remind her the most of herself. Without batting an eyelash, the current Creamline Cool Smashers setter mentioned Mafe Galanza of the UST Golden Tigresses.
Their common traits are evident. Their motion on serve is seemingly identical and the way they distribute the ball is like poetry in motion. LIkewise, they possess a calm demeanor even during pressure-packed situations.
The last two traits are often uncharacteristic of a rookie, especially one that has not been used to the UAAP limelight. But seven games into her collegiate volleyball career, the pride of San Pedro, Laguna has set her mark with the España-based unit.
At home with the tiger’s den
“Hindi ko na siya tinantanan noong nakita ko siya sa Calabarzon eh. Niligawan ko talaga. Luckily, hindi nga masyadong napapansin kasi maliit eh normal na size ng Pinay yun eh. Swerte ka na lang na makakuha ka ng malaki tapos ide-develop mo.”
That’s what UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes shared during the post-game interview in their first round closer against the UE Lady Warriors. But despite the natural talent that Galanza possesses, the coach was apprehensive about starting her immediately due to inexperience. Besides, she was supposed to be an understudy to fourth-year setter Alina Bicar.
But as the games went by, Reyes realized that he can’t stash her young setter anymore. “Siyempre, well-experienced si Alina. Pero, kung makikita mo doon sa stat tsaka doon sa positioning ng spiker, kung sino yun pinakamagandang magpagalaw ng tao, doon kami pupunta,” he said.
On her part, Galanza has returned the trust given to her with impressive performances as of late. She had 21 excellent sets in their straight-set victory over the De La Salle University Lady Spikers and matched that total in their win against the NU Lady Bulldogs. More importantly, the 5′ 5″ setter from San Pedro Relocation Center National High School helped steer UST to a 5-2 record while hitters Eya Laure and Cherry Ann Rondina pace the scoring list after round one.
Gaining confidence with each game passing, Galanza has clawed her way to become UST’s setter at present and of the future.
“Kung baga sa definition ng setter, si Mafe na. Nilalagay niya yun pinaka-most comfortable position ng spiker para makapalo ng maayos. Yun ang pinakamagandang trabaho ng setter. Nilalagay niya sa pinakamataas na percentage yun spiker niya para umatake. So nasa kanya yun criteria,” Reyes closed.