Off the court, she has a bubbly personality that can light up a room. On it, she turns into a fierce competitor that will not let the ball drop. That drive to win is what Bacolod Tay Tung High School libero Jeanny Padilla will bring to Diliman when she suits up for the UP Lady Maroons.
The Bacolod native already committed to UP during the Palarong Pambansa 2018, as confirmed by BTT Vice President for Sports Jose Montalbo. But while her collegiate volleyball career already has direction, all of this wouldn’t have happened if she pursued another sport.
From smash to spike
Padilla was all smiles despite playing a Rebisco Volleyball League 2018 National Finals game minutes prior to the interview. However, volleyball was not her first sport for her parents disagreed. “Badminton ang first sport ko. Ayaw ng parents ko na mag-volleyball ako kasi iitim daw ako,” she shared.
However, the tides turned when she started playing competitive volleyball for Bacolod Tay Tung. Her parents saw her play and gave the green light to their daughter. Padilla did not start being a libero after playing spiker and setter though. She credits the changes to her advantage though. “Kapag dumaan ka na sa ibang posisyon sa volleyball, may tip ka na sa training tapos mas madali mo nababasa ang nangyayari sa court,” she mentioned.
Now that she is representing school and region, there have been times when she almost called it quits due to the rigors of being a student-athlete. “May panahon noon na parang ayaw ko na maglaro kasi ang pangit ng laro ko. Tapos, may iintindihin ka pa na studies.” Instead, she motivated herself to overcome this obstacle.
She gave it her all during training sessions and took by heart the discipline that Tay Tung head coach Ian Macariola instilled. That passion enabled her to become the defensive cornerstone of one of the best high school volleyball teams in the Philippines. Her hard work paid off when she became a stalwart of a Tay Tung team that improved from cellar-dwellers to three-time Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports Cultural Educational Association champions.
From Thunderbolt to Lady Maroon
Padilla is keen on taking Bachelor of Arts in Education, major in MAPEH once she starts to call UP Diliman home. “Gusto ko po maging teacher ng P.E. in the future,” she exclaimed. But while she has aspirations of being a mentor, she must overcome her worries about a change in her environment first. “Siyempre nakakatakot din kasi bagong mga tao ang makikita mo tapos malayo ka sa pamilya mo.“ It’s a good thing though that former Tay Tung player Marianne Sotomil will welcome her to the campus and the team.
She will also get a lot of volleyball education from head coach Godfrey Okumu who has steered the Lady Maroons to the PVL Collegiate Conference 2018 championship and a third place finish in the 2018 Unigames at Dumaguete City. Padilla is willing to master the position though for she believes that UP’s program is on the rise. “Gagawin ko ang makakaya ko para maipakita na tama sila sa pagkuha sa akin,” she stated.
Playing on her final Rebisco Volleyball League, Padilla and the rest of the Thunderbolts want nothing less than the fifth place finish they had in last year’s edition. Their hopes were answered when they defeated RVL Nationals 2018 Best Opposite Attacker Aliah Marce and the Holy Rosary College Rhinos in five thrilling sets to take home the bronze.
When not training or tending to her studies, Padilla loves to sing and cites Taylor Swift and Regine Velasquez as her music idols. She has a unanimous idol in volleyball though. “Gusto ko maging kasing-galing ni Dawn Macandili,” Padilla said. When she does turn out to be a libero comparable or better than Ms. Everywhere, then UP’s wish of fortifying its floor defense for years to come will be granted by this Jeanny.