Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines – Risa Sato is not lacking in confidence when she returns to the National University for the season 82 UAAP volleyball tournament.
The bubbly middle blocker expects nothing less than a championship for the Lady Bulldogs in her fifth year of college.
"Champion," exclaimed Sato when asked about her expectations for 2020.
"Of course we shouldn't forget that we should play happily and focused to become champions," she added in Filipino.
Sato missed season 81 due to academic problems after having some technical shortcomings in her sports and wellness management course in her third year at NU.
Nevertheless, this setback has not weakened Sato's mood, especially when head coach Norman Miguel called her captain of the Lady Bulldogs for season 82.
"I told my teammates that we shouldn't forget our goal of becoming champions this season," said Sato. "I don't want to put my younger teammates under too much pressure so that they are always reminded of having fun playing."
Sato was with the Lady Bulldogs during the Jaja Santiago era when the team was seen as one of the league's better cadres.
These teams, led by Santiago, only reached the final four once in the 78-80 season when they secured fourth place on the grid with a 7-7 record in 2018 before falling for the later champion De La Salle.
Sato said that NU already had the pieces to fight for a title in those years, and it was unfortunate that they were unable to go all the way.
"We can be champions these years, but it's a shame we didn't make it," said Sato. "But I have a feeling that we can do it and win the title this year."
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