Do-it-all Ayel Estrañero hopes sacrifices will benefit UP in Season 80

If there’s somebody at the University of the Philippines, who has experienced playing multiple positions in the UAAP women’s volleyball, it’s none other than Ayel Estrañero.

Initially a hitter, Estrañero switched to libero in her second year, before becoming the Lady Marrons’ main setter last season.

Now entering her fourth year with UP, Estrañero is reverting to attacking duties to fill the offensive gap for the team.

And after a slow start in the Premier Volleyball League, the ever-smiling UP hitter isn’t shy to admit that she’s struggling to regain her feel as a spiker, something she hasn’t done for quite some time.

“Challenging yung pagiging spiker ko kasi I haven’t played spiker in three to four years, and then biglang naging spiker ako. I’m trying to work on it lalo na sa talon ko and sa contact ko sa bola,” Estrañero told FOX Sports.

“Ilang years na akong hindi masyadong tumatalon, ilang years akong di masyadong naga-approach, so I’m struggling. Pero I think I’ll get there, I’ll work on it.”

She’s been averaging below five points through three games in the off season, but it’s not a cause of panic for the Lady Maroon yet.

But beyond just winning, the squad should be more inclined in developing as a team in time for the UAAP Season 80 which won’t start until Febuary 2018.

UP head coach Jerry Yee isn’t rushing to Estrañero on her new role, but instead, praised the do-it-all veteran for her contributions to the team through the years.

“Si Ayel, siya yung nagiging pang plug-in natin sa mga problema natin. Malaki yung naiko-contribute ni Ayel whether libero, setter, ngayon opposite, malaki yung contribution nya,” Yee said in a separate interview.

The former Palaro best hitter’s positive take on the changes helped her a lot during the adjustment period.

She even joked about playing as middle blocker, the only position she hasn’t played in an official match.

“Baka sa Season 80 [middle na ko],” she kidded, then taking it back quickly, “But I don’t think I’d be middle anytime soon or anytime in my volleyball career.

The process not only made Estrañero a mature player inside the court but also a more mature person outside.

“It made me realize na you don’t always get what you want, you get kung saan ka kailangan, where you are needed the most,” she said.

“In life you just really have to adjust and accept, whatever is given to you, you just have to work on it and put your best foot forward.”

Follow this writer on Twitter: @Chester_Fajardo

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