Eager for payback, Bella Belen says Lady Bulldogs will take redemption a step at a time – rezal404

Bella Belen (No. 4) says the Lady Bulldogs will need to trust the process as they seek payback.  —UAAP MEDIA

Bella Belen (No. 4) says the Lady Bulldogs will need to trust the process as they seek payback. —UAAP MEDIA

For the National University’s (NU) Bella Belen and the Lady Bulldogs, the chance to reclaim the UAAP women’s volleyball crown will come as long as they trust the process.

And the process starts with training and getting back to their system.

The Lady Bulldogs settled for a runnerup finish in the Season 85 five-set finale against La Salle and reigning Rookie-Most Valuable Player (MVP) Angel Canino, who led the charge against NU and Belen en route to the championship.

“After the Finals game loss, I was thinking to myself ‘Gusto ko agad bumawi’ (I want to bounce back). But of course we can’t do that just yet,” Belen said after being named Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Volleyball Player of the Year for 2022 at The Hummingbird Rooftop Bar on Monday.

Canino received the same award for 2023 as the collegiate beat journalists handed out awards for the last two seasons.

Painful defeat

After that painful defeat to the Lady Spikers just two weeks ago, the Lady Bulldogs are back in the gym getting ready for a preseason tournament.

Looking ahead to the Shakey’s V-League tournament, Belen said that their grieving process is over after a short break.

“It’ll take time for a chance for payback. We go back to the process. Trust the process. It will be a long training camp. Isa-isahin lang natin (let’s do it one step at a time),” the former rookie MVP said.

And that process includes introducing new members to the Lady Bulldogs squad after libero Jennifer Nierva, setter Joyme Cagande and spiker Cess Robles decided to turn pro and move their talents to the Chery Tiggo Crossovers in the Premier Volleyball League.

The sophomore Lady Bulldogs stalwart led NU’s bid in Season 84 where they ended a 65-year championship drought with a historic 16-0 sweep of the competition.

Back to the drawing board

Coach Karl Dimaculangan and his Lady Bulldogs have to go back to the drawing board to reestablish that form and regain their identity as the fearsome NU squad for the next season.

“I think we need to stabilize our system. The system that we need to do next season. That’s where our focus should be,” Belen said, stressing the need for the team to drill the system into its rising stars.

“Since we lost some of our teammates to the pro league, we would be welcoming new talents to our squad so we would need to teach them who NU is and what is our system that they need to adapt,” Belen said, who revealed she plans to stay on the collegiate ranks—at least, for now.

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