Every week, INQUIRER Sports will rate the seven best players in the UAAP Season 82 women's volleyball tournament. The author bases the ranking on the team rating, the statistics and the intangible values of the players that do not appear on the statistics sheets.
MANILA, Philippines – The wait took a while, but the women's volleyball tournament for UAAP season 82 is officially in full swing.
And it was worth the wait.
National University was the first week in the league with a 2-0 league record, while De La Salle made a rousing debut to start his revenge tour.
The University of Santo Tomas, defending champion Ateneo, Far Eastern University and the University of the Philippines battle for third place.
Adamson University is in seventh place after losing its season opener, while the University of the East is 2-2 down.
Since all teams are able to get their feet wet, here are the seven players who have registered well for the opening of the new season.
1. Margot Mutshima (National University, outside the Spikers)
Margot Mutshima. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
When fans waited for weeks to start playing volleyball, the National University had to wait for years for Margot Mutshima to put on her dark blue jersey.
This wait was not in vain, however, as the 6-foot-2 Mutshima quickly became an offensive star for the Lady Bulldogs.
Mutshima, a former member of the Congolese U18 national volleyball team, showed that she scored an average of 18 points per game in the first two NU games of the season.
In her debut against last year's finalist UST, she ended up with 23 points.
2. Tin Tiamzon (University of De La Salle, outside the Spikers)
Tin Tiamzon has that star quality in it that is just waiting for her time to shine.
In her early years with De La Salle, however, she played behind people like Kianna Dy, Mary Joy Baron and Desiree Cheng.
However, this year is another case where Tiamzon is now playing a leading role for the Lady Spikers.
Tiamzon showed that she was built for it after leading La Salle with 17 points in a 25-15, 17-25, 25-17, 25-15 win against rival and defending champion Ateneo.
3. Jolina dela Cruz (University of De La Salle, opposite Schlagmann)
La Salle's Jolina dela Cruz hits the ball over the Ateneo defense in the UAAP season 82 women Volleyball tournament Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
Tiamzon was not the only Lady Spiker to thrive after being given greater responsibilities.
Jolina dela Cruz has proven that she is a superstar after fighting for the Rookie of the Year plum last year.
And in the first game of her second year, dela Cruz showed that she has more than just a talent for leadership, which is also shown in her 13-point performance against the Lady Eagles.
4. Jennifer Nierva (National University, Libero)
Jennifer Nierva. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
If Mutshima is the one who carried out the airstrike, Jennifer Nierva covered the defense scheme of the Lady Bulldogs.
There was no libero who had a better first week than Nierva.
Nierva asserted herself against the constant attacks of the Golden Tigresses when she won 20 excellent excavations and 20 successful receptions in the season 22-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20, 15-13 of the Lady Bulldogs .
Despite her young age, Nierva was already a vocal presence and easily mastered the word with her playing and also with her constant communication with her teammates.
Nierva continued her great performance against UST with another solid game against the Lady Falcons with 11 excellent excavations and 10 successful receptions in a 26-24, 25-14, 25-21 win.
5. Eya Laure (University of Santo Tomas, opposite to batsman)
Eya Laure. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
The Sophomores are growing rapidly this season.
Eya Laure, rookie of the year 81 of season 81, was already an MVP candidate in 2019 and only lost to teammate Cherry Rondina. This year, Laure started where it left off.
Laure has become a commanding presence for UST and although she now shares the floor with her older sister EJ, she still shows that the Golden Tigers' crime goes through her.
The younger Laure scored an average of 18 points per game in her first two games, confirming her status as one of the best scorers in the league.
Her defense was not too shabby and she achieved 14 excellent digs and eight successful receptions when the UST won 25-20, 25-16, 25-18 against the Lady Falcons.
6. Isa Molde (University of the Philippines, outside of Spiker)
Isa Molde. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
Isa Molde was not sure whether she would return to UP for her fifth year of play. Molde finally decided to come back and she made sure everyone knew.
Molde was not on her usual self in UP's brutal defeat against Ateneo with only nine points.
UP's overall performance against Ateneo was so grim that head coach Godfrey Okumu described them as "only 10 percent" of his team's true ability.
Molde took Okumu's criticism to heart and decided to perform excellently in UP's victory over the Lady Warriors (25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-17).
After a single-digit edition, Molde redeemed itself with 24 points to get the highest score for a single game this week.
7. Alina Bicar (University of Santo Tomas, Setter)
Alina Bicar. Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
Alina Bicar had major problems in the first part of season 81 when she had relocated to Mafe Galanze as a backup setter.
Bicar finally became the first choice for the Golden Tigresses and she carried this momentum not only as the main playmaker of her team, but also as captain in season 82.
Bicar is responsible for a team that includes sisters EJ and Eya, Tin Francisco, rookie Imee Hernandez and beach volleyball MVP Babylove Barbon. He showed why she was chosen to lead the Golden Tigresses.
Leading the way, veteran Bicar wasn't at the top of her game when she had 17 excellent sets in 109 attempts at a loss to NU, but she recovered with much more efficient performance and produced 16 excellent sets in 59 attempts against Adamson.
EDITORS & # 39; PICK
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