Why Judith Abil celebrates less after scoring in Season 81

From this point on, UE’s Judith Abil is no longer just UAAP’s darling of the crowd, cheering her teammates on through wins and losses.

Minutes after the Lady Warriors notched their first win in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Volleyball tournament at the expense of the Adamson Lady Falcons, Abil discussed the positive changes she went through as a volleyball player over the past year with the help of UE head coach Karl Dimaculangan.

“Ako kasi dati pag pumalo ako tapos error, down na ako. Wala nang babalik na ise-set sa akin. Tinanggal niya (Dimaculangan) ‘yun. Tinuro niya sa akin na magtiwala ako sa teammates ko at sa sarili ko. Importante din daw na pag naglaro sa loob, dapat may pride,” Abil told Volleyverse.

True enough, the outside hitter was relentless in attacking despite failed first attempts, connecting for 22 kills in 72 attempts. This explosion came in handy as UE’s other top hitter, Mary Ann Mendrez, is still nursing a minor shoulder injury.

Abil also sparkled on the defensive end to complete a triple-double performance with 20 excellent digs and 21 receptions.

Another noticeable change in Abil’s brand of play, however, is the less-than-usual celebration of points from the jovial spiker—a trait that has endeared her to the fans of the sport.

On the minor tweak on her demeanor, she shares: “This year kailangan ako kumilos as a senior na titignan ng mga bata. Nandun pa rin ‘yung pagiging jolly ko pero kailangan meron din ‘yung pagka-seryoso sa loob ng court. Napapansin ko rin kasi pag sobrang jolly ko sa loob ng court parang nahahawa sila at nawawala sa focus. Binago ko ‘yun.”

With a coach who is a three-time UAAP Best Server awardee like Dimaculangan, even Abil’s service is proving to be a game-changer for the Iligan native.

Though the four service aces she has tallied in three outings is far from being monumental, Abil’s new technique is helping her channel energy from the service line to defense.

“Nung assistant coach pa lang namin si coach Karl, gusto niya na baguhin ang serve ko. Nung siya na ang coach, binago na niya,” revealed the graduating player.

“Serve ko dati sobrang layo sa line. Nakikita ni coach na nahihirapan ako. Eh best server siya dati kaya gusto niya maituro sa akin ‘yung ginagawa niya nung naglalaro pa siya,” she added. “Sa serve niya, tatalon ka muna bago hagis ng bola. Kaya kahit sobrang hirap niyang baguhin kasi nakasanayan ko na, dahan-dahan. ‘Yung energy ko sa depensa pagtapos mag serve, meron pa.”

These improvements, plus the hard work she has invested, may have arrived late in her collegiate career. But for Abil, the timing couldn’t be more perfect as she plans to end her UE stint with a bang, wanting to turn it into a well-deserved ‘thank you’ to her alma mater.

“Gusto ko lang talaga may maiwan sa UE this year kasi ga-graduate na kami. Gusto ko pag alis ko may maisukli man lang kami sa community ng UE kaya doble-doble ang pagod,” she said.

UE will try to notch win number two against Ateneo on Sunday (March 3), 2 PM, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.