FEU’s Bakanke, La Salle’s Kampton rise at crucial time

Faida Bakanke FEU Lady Tamaraws UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball

FEU Lady Tamaraws’ Faida Bakanke during a game against UST in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Both FEU’s Faida Bakanke and La Salle’s Noel Kampton delivered when it mattered the most to help put their teams firmly in the playoff picture of the UAAP Season 86 volleyball tournament.

Bakanke led the Lady Tamaraws to a women’s Final Four return in two years while Kampton helped the Green Spikers remain in prime position for a spot in the men’s semifinals nearing the homestretch of the elimination round.

Their efforts proved more than enough for their respective squads’ playoff bids, earning the Collegiate Press Corps’ UAAP Players of the Week for the period of April 9 to 14.

Bakanke, the Congolese rookie, fired 13 points in the Lady Tamaraws’ 25-19, 25-23, 25-23 win over Adamson last April 9.

She followed it up with arguably her best showing in the tournament, scoring 21 points, including a career-high four rejections against league-leading UST in a match that went the distance, 19-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10, last April 13.

“Siyempre, nakaka-proud si Faida, ‘yung story niya rin kasi na simula last year, ‘yung pagdating niya from Congo, eh talagang mahirap para sa kaniya, culture, ‘yung language barrier,” head coach Manolo Refugia said of his rookie as FEU completed the Final Four at 7-4 with still three games to go. 

“Talagang mahirap pero in-embrace niya. Magaling siya, madaling maka-adapt and ayun, nakuha niya ang system.”

Bakanke beat out teammate Jean Asis, NU’s Vange Alinsug, DLSU’s Shevana Laput, Ateneo’s Roma Doromal, UST’s Regina Jurado, and Adamson’s Barbie Jamili for the weekly citation.

“I’m very happy that we got this game, we also respect the system of the coaches. I’m so proud of my team. I’m very happy and proud of my team since we did well, that is most important,” said Bakanke.

READ: UAAP: Faida Bakanke continues to deliver for FEU

Noel Kampton La Salle UAAP Season 86 men's volleyball

La Salle’s Noel Kampton.–MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

On the other hand, Kampton delivered in the clutch, scoring huge attacks down the stretch en route to a 17-point outing in an undermanned La Salle side’s 25-17, 25-11, 25-21 victory against UE, which eliminated the latter from playoff contention last April 9.

The ace outside spiker also tallied 18 points, 22 excellent receptions, and seven excellent digs in La Salle’s stunning 25-19, 25-17, 31-33, 27-25 win against three-time defending champion NU on Sunday, even without JM Ronquillo 

The huge victory helped the Green Spikers, at 8-3, retain their third-place ranking in the tight playoff race. 

“Sa last (remaining) games, wala namang masama mangarap. Ita-try naming ma-sweep ang remaining games. I’m not saying na mananalo kami but we’ll do our best,” remarked Kampton.

“Ito muna kami sa second round, doon muna kami mag-focus talaga.”

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Kampton nosed out teammate Vince Maglinao, FEU’s Ariel Cacao, NU’s Nico Almendras, Ateneo’s Ken Batas, UST’s Josh Ybañez, and UP’s Jaivee Malabanan for the weekly honor being deliberated upon by print and online media regularly covering the collegiate beat.