Sophomore Ivy Lacsina looks at Jaja Santiago, who is arguably the best volleyball player to come out of National University, as an inspiration when the Lady Bulldogs plunge into action in the UAAP Season 82 women’s volleyball tournament.
Taking over the spot left by Santiago two years ago, the 6-foot-2 Lacsina hopes to emulate the same hard work and discipline of the former Queen Lady Bulldog, who is now enjoying success as an import in the Japan V. Premier League playing for the Saitama Ageo Medics.
“Sobrang nakaka-proud po yun and nakaka-motivate na ganun na si Ate Jaja ngayon, dati nakakausap ko lang yan. Iba na ang narating niya ngayon,” said Lacsina of the 6-foot-5 Santiago, who recently helped the Ageo Medics win its first-ever third place trophy. “Naisip ko na grabe yun pala ang kaya mong marating kung mag-hardwork ka and nag-focus ka sa dapat mong i-focus.”
Lacsina seems to be following the same path taken by Santiago, who at her size plays at the wing in Japan.
From her natural position as a middle, Lacsina was converted to open spiker for the short-handed Lady Bulldogs last season. Averaging almost 13 points per game in her debut season as a winger, Lacsina indeed could be the next big star for NU.
But the soft-spoken player knows that she still has a lot to improve on starting with discipline.
“Kinukwento ng iba naming teammates na naranasang maging senior si [Ate Jaja], iba po ang disiplina niya sa sarili niya,” said Lacsina, who considers Santiago as a big influence why she decided to stay with NU after graduating from NU-Nazareth School. “Yun po ang naisip ko na, ‘Ay kailangan ito ang disiplina ko para someday makuha ko rin ang pwede kong makuha.’”
“Hindi ko kailangan maging Ate Jaja,” she added. “Kailangan kong maging ako at gawin ko siyang motivation.”
Lacsina will be NU’s rock on defense at the net after making an impact last year.
Despite the departure of last Season 81 1st Best Middle Blocker Roselyn Doria, the Lady Bulldogs still have a solid frontline with Lacsina and returning veteran Risa Sato, who missed last year’s action because of academic issues.
Lacsina cherishes the chance of playing alongside a seasoned player in Sato.
“Malaki po ang epekto niya kasi po iba ang laro niya, iba po ang pagiging jolly niya, iba po ang pagi-enjoy niya, pag-iingay nya sobrang nadadala kami,” said Lacsina. “Saka ‘yung standard niya. Ang taas kasi talaga ng standard niya which is good.”
With hopes of improving from last year’s 4-10 record, the Lady Bulldogs are banking on Lacsina to level up her game just like what the former Most Valuable Player Santiago did during her heydays with NU.