|Ella De Jesus (left) and Jem Ferrer (right) post-Ateneo-NU.|
This appears in the Tuesday February 2, 2016 edition of the Business Mirror.
Ella's advice to the Lady Eagles
by rick olivares pic by dondi nolasco
For the first time in the last seven years of her life, Ella De Jesus isn’t carrying a gym bag on her way to the locker room. There’s a game all right but it will be first time as a spectator when the Ateneo Lady Eagles take on the National University Lady Bulldogs.
Ella went inside the Ateneo locker room to say hi then went out talking to some Ateneo team officials and friends. “It’s my first time as a spectator and I think I am more nervous now than any time when I was playing,” she confesses.
Does she wish she was playing?
“Oh, yes,” she emphatically says. “Super. I am so jealous of my teammates. Sobrang gusto ko maglaro. It feels weird that I am watching them warm up and then later play while I am not a part. Pag-gising ko kaning umaga, I said to myself, ‘Game day.’ Then I thought, ‘I’m not playing with them anymore.’"
De Jesus still does play although it’s for the PLDT Home Ultera Ultra Fast Hitters in the Shakey’s V-League. The talent-laden squad won the recently-concluded Shakey’s V-League Reinforced Open Conference. Nowadays, she splits her time working for PLDT (in their operations group analyzing data and making reports) and playing. “So I still play.”
While De Jesus doesn’t miss the hard training under Ateneo head coach Anusorn Bundit, she does miss the game and everything else in between. “In my first years with the team, I was waiting for time to move fast so I could be a senior and get more playing time. Then when the days of last season were moving fast, I wished it was slower. When the UAAP ended, there was this bittersweet feeling. I was happy kasi nag-champion ulit and I don’t have to train anymore but playing…? Her voice trailed off. She then adds somewhat wistfully, “You never truly know what you miss until it’s gone.”
“Playing in the UAAP is one of my best experiences ever. Hindi ko pagpapalit yan for anything."
The V-League Collegiate Conference of last year was her last in an Ateneo jersey. It was a different experience for De Jesus as she played the libero position; something she had not really played. "The V-League was an extension of my playing years. It would have been nice to win the last one but we didn't. It doesn't make me any less happy but it was a good ride for me."
De Jesus had some parting advice for her teammates including the rookies who joined the team in the off-season, “Maintain the good attitude when it comes to the game and the team, and play like underdogs. Oh, and to sila Alyssa (Valdez) and Amy (Ahomiro) who are playing their last year with the team — savor every moment of it. You will miss it as much as I do."