- December 12, 2023 10:34
Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Paddler Aizel Mae Rom was hailed as the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 table tennis tournament Rookie of the Year (ROY).
In an interview with FEU Advocate, the 19-year-old paddler pointed out the difficulty she had upon the comeback of the collegiate tourney and classes after the pandemic.
“Pressure po talaga ‘di nawala kasi coming pa po from pandemic… Nahirapan din po ako i-handle ‘yung pressure and iniisip ko din po ‘yung school works ko doon habang naglalaro kami (The pressure really hasn't gone away… I had a hard time handling the pressure and I was thinking about my school works while we were playing)," Rom said.
Leading FEU to a Final Four appearance in Season 85, the Cebu-native added that the trust given by her teammates played a significant factor in bagging the award.
“Sa dati ko pong team ‘di talaga ako pinagkakatiwalaan ng ibang players, pero ngayon po, wow, kilala na nila ko talaga sa pangalan ko [at] ‘di lang na player ng FEU (In my previous team, the other players didn't really trust me, but now, wow, they really know me by my name [and] not just as an FEU player),” she stated.
Rom withstood other rookies among the six participating universities, including Adamson University, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of the East, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas.
During the interview, the green-and-gold rookie also credited the efforts made by her teammates and coaches during the pre-tournament preparations for the season.
"Lagi kong iniisip yung mga family ko sa probinsya, ‘yung mga pinaghirapan ko po kasama ng mga teammates and coaches ko (I always think about my family in the province, the struggles I faced with my teammates and coaches)," she added.
The green-and-gold ROY lady paddler is eyeing to put FEU back into the podium next season after the tournament concluded last November 30 at the Makati Coliseum in Makati City.
-Leiniel A. Santos
(Photo courtesy of Aizel Mae Rom)