CEBU CITY — One team’s loss is another team’s treasure.
After being let go by Ateneo de Manila University, star spiker Michelle Morente formally enrolled at De La Salle University, hoping to see action in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament next year.
Morente is no ordinary talent.
The 22-year old opposite had a phenomenal year after finishing on top of the scoring and spiking departments for the Lady Eagles, who bowed to the Lady Spikers in a grueling best-of-three finals showdown of the country’s most prestigious collegiate league early this year.
She unloaded an impressive 172 points, which is the sixth best in UAAP Season 79 and finished with a 41.53 percent spike success rate behind Jaja Santiago of National University, who had a league-best 42.58 percent.
Prior to that, she helped the Lady Eagles win back-to-back titles in Season 76 and 77, thanks to her hard work and devil-may-care attitude at both ends of the floor.
But it didn’t translate into a rosy performance off the court.
Shortly after Season 79, Ateneo confirmed that it is letting Morente go after having academic deficiencies. It was actually her second time to sit out as she also encountered the same problem in 2015.
With that, she had no choice but to pack her bags for La Salle.
La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus confirmed that Morente is already at their camp and is serving a one-year residency this year before formally seeing action in Season 81.
The timing is perfect as she would be suiting up to replace national team member Kim Dy at the opposite spiker slot in 2018.
Future Cargo Mover
De Jesus admitted that no less than F2 Logistics team owner Efren Uy was behind the recruitment of Morente.
The logistics and cargo giant, after all, is the mother club of the Lady Spikers in the Philippine Superliga (PSL) and their chief backer in the UAAP.
De Jesus said Uy generously offered Morente a scholarship at La Salle – not only to parade her in the next UAAP season – but also to field her against the country’s best club players in the PSL.
She, however, has to focus first on La Salle, where she is taking up a degree in Psychology.
De Jesus made the statement here in the Queen City following the Cargo Movers’ exhibition match against the best volleyball players from the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation. Inc. (CESAFI) over the weekend.
“Actually, yung team owner namin sa F2 (Logistics) ang nagbigay ng scholarship sa kanya sa La Salle.”
“Yun talaga ang target at hinain namin sa kanya, na patupusin muna sya sa La Salle and at the same time mai-lineup sya sa F2 Logistics.”
“Kailangan namin ang experience at leadership nya sa loob lalo na at may bago kaming setters (Michelle Cobb and CJ Saga). Malaki din maiitulong nya sa opensa.”
Volleyverse tried but messages sent to Morente were unreturned.
But at any rate, one thing is clear: These Cargo Movers have a bright future ahead. – BY John Carlo Villaruel