Updated: Oct 19, 2021
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Being a child who casually played volleyball and represented her hometown in different leagues, Jen Nierva never foresaw that she would grow to be the player she is now and eventually carve National University (NU) into her heart.
She was recruited to be part of the high school team. Jen admitted that their team started from nothing wherein they rarely won. However, eventually developed into a consistent champion team; this was all thanks to NU’s efficient management and volleyball program headed by Coach Babes.
“Sobrang swerte namin talaga kasi we started from zero, mga bata lang kami na gustong mag-laro ng volleyball. And then, they turned us into something beautiful, something na may value na,” Nierva said in Episode 11 of The Hang Time Podcast. (We’re just so lucky because we started from zero and we were just kids who loved to play the sport, and then they turned us into something beautiful with value.)
As they went onto college, none of them dared to transfer schools even though stronger teams that were far greater championship contenders tried to recruit them.
The reason behind their decision to stay was due to the overwhelming support from their management. In addition, the special and unique bond that they all developed as a team, a bond that you cannot just get from other teams also played a key role in their decision to stay; they used this bond to their advantage making them a stronger team overall.
However, UAAP Season 81 was not everything that they expected; they certainly faced struggles in their first volleyball season at the collegiate level.
“We entered the UAAP with a disadvantage right away; we only have 11 players in the lineup compared to other teams with 14 players,” she said.
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“Kapag may off samin, ang hirap humugot ng talagang same ng maibibigay and ma-ccontribute,” she added. (During some of our players’ off-games, it was hard to get someone who could contribute the same performance.)
At the same time, coming from their junior years when they were champions, they were used to winning - they were not used to losing. This mentality of expecting to always win led to them struggle emotionally, and so, they improved themselves as a team and decided that they should, instead, play for the love of the game and enjoy playing instead of expecting to win every time, especially with the line up that they had.
Jen Nierva has really changed and transitioned from who she was before joining the NU squad. Now, she is a lot stronger and more mature; this change was brought by the challenges of being an athlete in situations where she struggled to be better and better every single day.
“Hindi ka dapat tumatagal sa emotions, kailangan move forward ka na talaga kasi that’s how life is – matatalo ka, madadapa ka, may mga wrong decisions ka, but then, kailangan mo yun eh, to grow,” she said. (You should not dwell on your emotions, you should always move forward because that’s how life is, you’ll lose, you’ll stumble, and have wrong decisions, but then you need that for your growth.)
Currently, Jen Nierva is taking up financial management at the National University, and, ever since the lockdown, she has been working out and conditioning, attending online classes, and, in her free time, enjoying watching some Netflix.
Listen to the entire interview of Jen Nierva (Episode 11 of The Hang Time Podcast) with one of the links below. Thank you and enjoy!
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin check out the link below to see all the articles by Carla Molina that revisit past episodes of the network in bring the story of the guests to article form as well.