The NU Lady Bulldogs are in the middle of their golden era, but what happens when their generation of miracles leave?
The NU Lady Bulldogs are on a mission in UAAP Season 86, looking to bring back the women's volleyball title after getting a harsh reality check courtesy of the DLSU Lady Spikers last year.
With the return of coach Norman Miguel, and NU retaining the core of Alyssa Solomon, Bella Belen, and Camilla Lamina, the Lady Bulldogs remain as title favorites for the UAAP crown.
But perhaps as equally as regaining the UAAP title, staying as a perennial UAAP contender is of utmost importance for the Lady Bulldogs. And that's something new team captain Erin Pangilinan takes to heart.
“We’re building a culture sa team na hindi lang Bella, Aly [ang] core, so parang mine-make sure namin na there is the next,” Pangilinan told One Sports.
“I think our advantage sa team is that we're not settling for just the core lang. We're building the whole team as a core na mawala 'yung isa, walang nagbago,” she added.
Pangilinan, while plucked into a position of great responsibility, is no stranger to taking on the team captain role.
In her high school days with the National University-Nazareth School, Pangilinan was also named team captain back in Season 82.
Now, the 5-foot-7 middle blocker is ready to lead the Lady Bulldogs to glory once more.
“Sobrang grateful ako kasi parang na-entrust sa akin 'yung team kung paano ko siya ile-lead,” said Pangilinan.
“I'm grateful talaga sa manager namin, sa coaches namin na talagang pinagkatiwalaan ako sa role na ito," she added.
High school is not the same as the UAAP collegiate scene though, and Pangilinan knows the difference.
She knows that each of her own teammates will be more mature, each with their own goals that would stretch outside of their stints with NU. Erin also knows that for them to reach their ultimate goal in Season 86, she's going to have to manage and be on top of her ultra-talented teammates.
More importantly, Pangilinan knows that for NU to be successful after them, the culture has to be set.
“When it comes sa high school parang you can control pa eh the mindset nung bawat isa, pero ngayon kasi sa college, everybody has their own mind na,” said Pangilinan.
“What I have to do is kailangan maging collective lang talaga 'yung mindset namin. Kailangan walang maliligaw dapat, so I have to keep track sa team,” she added.