After back-to-back runner up finishes for the past two UAAP Seasons, veteran setter Kim Fajardo now takes on the task of leading the De La Salle University Lady Spikers to reclaiming the Collegiate Crown they once held for three consecutive years and eight times overall.
“Nung una kasi parang ayaw ko. Ayaw ko yung title”. says Kim about being named the new captain. She however, eventually accepted the challenge and now intends to simply continue what she has been doing all these years, “Yung role ko naman sa team talaga is parang ako yung commander. So ngayon lang nagka title lang pero ganun parin. Mas may pressure lang pero kakayanin ko naman”.
When asked why she thinks coach Ramil De Jesus chose her to become the new captain of her team, Kim humbly replied that she does not know but said that this was not the first time that her coach gave her this role, “hindi ko alam. Nagulat nalang din ako na ako na yung may line sa jersey. Pero kasi nung PNG (Philippine National Games) and previous leagues namin ako na yung captain pero hindi ko naman ineexpect na pati pala sa UAAP ako na din. Hindi ko talaga alam kung bakit ako”.
Kim’s focus for this coming Season is to basically do her job well as a setter as she sees this as the main key for her to be able to fulfill her role as a captain successfully. She also intends to focus on not just the skills but also the attitude inside the court, “yung magawa ko ng maayos yung trabaho ko siguro enough na yun para ma-lead ko yung team ko. Hindi lang basta skills dapat pero pati yung kung paano sila ihahandle, kung paano sila kakausapin, kung paano magiging vocal sakanila at kung paano tatanggapin yung responsibility”.
Beach volleyball success
Last year, Kim Fajardo alongside fellow graduating player Cyd Demecillo (third player: Ernestine Tiamzon) bagged the UAAP Season 78 Beach Volleyball Championship; the first one in La Salle’s history. For Kim Fajardo, their win is important to help inspire the rest of her team to play well during the indoor tournament, “pinilit talaga namin makuha yung Championship para makakuha kami ng kumpyansa para sa indoor. Pinilit namin makuha para at least yung mga younger players may pagkuhanan sila ng lakas ng loob at para mas pumukpok pa sila”. Kim’s efforts in the outdoor tournament was well recognized as she took home the Most Valuable Player award.
No way but up
Back-to-back heartbreaking losses against rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles is not something that is easy to shrug off but Kim Fajardo has always had a positive outlook, “syempre nag end yung Season ng hindi namin na-accomplish yung goal namin, which is yung mabawi yung Championship, pero siguro this year naman nakapag prepare kami ng maayos para mabawi yung Championship”.
This Season, the DLSU Lady Spikers have six players who are already on their last playing year, namely, Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Mika Esperanza, Carol Cerveza, and Kim fajardo. “Every year naman ginagawa namin yung best namin pero this year, madaming last playing year na kaya mas makikita na yung fire, yung eagerness na mabawi namin yung titile,” says Kim “yun talaga yung nag pupush samin na maglaro ng maayos”.
As for her team’s chances of winning the Championship this year, Kim feels that they have prepared well and that they have gained enough confidence, “This year may kumpyansa kami. Senior ako, after winning sa Beach Volleyball na feel ulit yung pagiging Champion. Bumalik ulit yung feeling. Syempre two years wala yun, mahirap din.” Says the multi-awarded setter “Gusto ko maging maayos yung exit namin. Gusto ko maging memorable. Maging masaya. Gusto namin maalala ng mga tao na natapos kami ng maayos”.
Road to redemption
Kim Fajardo will step on the UAAP court for the first time as the captain of her squad on Wendesday, February 3, 4pm as the DLSU Lady Spikers take on last year’s fourth placers, the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws at the PhilSports Arena.