Far Eastern University rookie Barbie Jamili is not the type to back down from a challenge.
Even if it means leaving her comfort zone and looking at a new horizon to spread her wings.
Jamili did that already twice.
She left Cebu in 2015 to join the successful Nazareth School of National University volleyball program, winning consecutive University Athletic Association of the Philippines girls’ titles for the Lady Bullpups.
Just when most volleyball pundits thought that she’ll rejoin her former high school teammates in the seniors’ division for Season 85 to help the Lady Bulldogs in their repeat bid, the 19-year-old spiker decided to pack her bags and join the Lady Tamaraws.
Many would think why would Jamili join a rebuilding team which finished last in the previous UAAP season instead of the practical choice of a rendezvous with NU?
Jamili had a straightforward answer she followed with a sweet smile.
“I want to take on new opportunities and open my doors to another school. For a new beginning,” said the 19-year-old tourism student.
Proof that behind the timid and shy façade is a fierce competitor who dreams of shining in her own light.
Last Saturday, Jamili showed a glimpse of what she can bring to the table when her number was called in the Lady Tams’ opening day game against reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association champion College of St. Benilde in the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The comely freshman energized her squad with her do-it-all performance on offense and floor defense but Jamili shone the most when she calmly landed a piercing service ace that sealed FEU’s hard-fought 25-20, 24-26, 19-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory.
Newly-appointed head coach Tina Salak was confident of Jamili’s toughness down the stretch that she fielded her back with the Lady Tams holding to a precarious, 13-11, lead in the fifth set.
“I have confidence in Barbie’s service and floor defense. I’m thankful it translated into a win,” said Salak, who made a successful debut for FEU.
Jamili admitted that standing in the service area with the game on the line was nerve-wracking.
“I was a bit nervous, but I did my part to help the team win,” she said.
Despite being a late addition to the FEU program, Salak sees a lot of promise in Jamili.
“She’s still making little adjustments as a late addition to our program so I’m not really pushing her to rush things. I know Barbie since high school. I’m confident she can make [those adjustments],” said Salak, who in 2018 steered De La Salle-Zobel to the title at the expense of Jamili and NU’s five-peat bid.
Passing her first test as a Lady Tams with flying colors, Jamili knows that she needs to consistently work harder to repay the trust of her coaches and teammates.
Jamili was just glad she found a new home in FEU.
“They are easy to get along with. I’m happy to be on this team,” Jamili said.
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