Now that Santiago has spread her wings to fly high in the ongoing Japanese V.League, the F. Jhocson squad is in dire need to fill the scoring void left by the UAAP Season 80 MVP. Thus, five-foot-11 Ivy Lacsina is already feeling the pressure to live up to the hype.
“Malaki ‘yung pressure kasi siyempre si Ate Jaja (Santiago) ‘yun. Ang layo na ng narating niya tapos ako nagsa-start pa lang. Kailangan ko din tignan kung ano pa ‘yung pwede kong makuha sa kanya na pwede ko magamit ngayon,” admitted the Kapampangan spiker.
It’s a good thing that even before Lacsina officially joined NU’s Women’s Volleyball Team, she was already in contact and is close with the current Ageo Medics middle blocker.
This connection between the former Lady Bullpup and the ex-Lady Bulldog came extra handy when the up-and-coming talent was at a crossroads whether to stay with National University or move on to the University of the Philippines.
“Nagbibigay po siya (Santiago) ng tips lalo na nung nagka-conflict ako sa NU and UP. Siya ‘yung nandyan para i-guide ako,” shared Lacsina.
“Inuna ko muna ‘yung system. Maganda naman po ‘yung system ng UP. Kaso siguro nakita ko lang din ‘yung sarili ko in the future na mas magi-improve ako sa NU. Unlike before bago ako mag Grade 11 dito, iba talaga ‘yung in-improve ko dito,” she added regarding the things she considered before making her final decision.
What started as pressure from her family to move to Manila to play for Nazareth School of National University has now turned into giving back to the volleyball program that turned her into a potent attacker from practically anywhere inside the playing court.
Not even the departure of Lacsina’s mentor, Babes Castillo, can dampen her spirit.
“Nung una talaga, every night umiiyak ako kasi parang nawalan ako ng Tatay. Eventually, okay naman kasi nadagdagan ako ng Nanay (Coach Regine Diego).” said the 19-year-old, breaking into a sheepish smile. “Tsaka nakaka-usap ko pa din naman si Coach Babes. Sinabi naman niya sakin na iga-guide niya pa rin ako kahit wala na siya dito.”
With height, power, and agility like hers, it’s easy to predict that Lacsina will be one of the frontrunners in the tight race to the UAAP Season 81 Rookie of the Year plum.
However, this is not at all the goal for the Tourism student-athlete.
“Hindi ko po siya masyado fino-focus na makuha kasi ang goal po talaga namin is makabalik sa Final Four,” she closed.