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Lady Tams net young phenom

Incoming rookie Barbie Jamili could play a vital role in Far Eastern University’s campaign in the coming University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament next year.

A couple of months from now, the Lady Tamaraws will parade a young and revamped team with a new system under first-year coach Tina Salak with hopes of improving from a disappointing last-place finish in the previous tournament.

Leading the FEU young blood is winger Jamili — one of the highly-recruited spikers from a successful high school volleyball program.

The 19-year-old freshman has proven her versatility on both offense and floor defense being one of the key players for Nazareth School of National University’s UAAP high school title romp.

No less than reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year Bella Balen of the defending champion Lady Bulldogs has vouched for what her former high school teammate Jamili could bring to the table for FEU.

“Before when she was with us, Barbie was our baby sister. But now looking at how she performs in FEU we can see her maturity and leadership,” Belen said.

FEU won only one out of 14 outings in Season 84 early this year.

The NU open spiker last played alongside Jamili in the Junior Lady Bulldogs’ 2019 championship run.

Now playing on the opposite side of the court, Belen knows Jamili will bring the same competitive spirit and passion she displayed back when she was still with NU.

“I could see that she could be one of the players that will carry FEU’s fight. She’s a leader, I know that,” Belen said.

“I could say that she will be one of FEU’s go-to guys and every time they set the ball to her, she’s sure to deliver points.”

Jamili was impressive in her first tournament as a Lady Tamaraw, leading FEU to a seventh-place finish in the 18-team Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-season Championship.

The Cebuana spiker also got a chance to face her former teammates in the SSL quarterfinals. Although FEU lost in straight sets to the eventual unbeaten champion NU, Jamili drew praises from her former teammates, particularly Belen.

“We’re very happy to see her grow and enjoy playing for her team. We’re glad to see her play with the same passion for the sport she loves,” she said.

Jamili was just grateful for the kind words she received from Belen.

“I just want to continue what I’ve been doing since high school,” Jamili said.

“Of course, I’m both excited and nervous because I’ll face them (former NU teammates) in the UAAP this time as opponents after playing with them for a long time.”

While the Lady Bulldogs set their eyes to protect the title that ended their 65-year title drought, expect the Lady Tamaraws to give them a challenge with a recruit of the same NU breed.

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