May 24, 2024

UAAP: UP rookie Pling Baclay’s career-high blocks draw comparison to former Ateneo star

UAAP: UP rookie Pling Baclay’s career-high blocks draw comparison to former Ateneo star
Pling Baclay celebrates after a successful kill block during the UP Fighting Maroons' four-set loss to the NU Lady Bulldogs. | Photo (c) RM Chua/One Sports

Rookie Pling Baclay had another stellar performance on the defensive end for the University of the Philippines on Wednesday.

In her second start for the Fighting Maroons, Baclay set a new career-high in blocks with nine during UP’s four-set loss to National University.

The 20-year-old middle blocker’s latest feat was just two blocks short the record by Maddie Madayag, a former Ateneo Blue Eagles who also played under coach Oliver Almadro.

Madayag set the blocking record in the UAAP in a single match by tallying 11 kill blocks during Ateneo’s victory over the University of Santo Tomas. It happened in the five-set opening match of Season 81's second round, exactly five years ago.

“Siyempre happy kasi 'yun nga kanina ko lang nalaman na naka-nine blocks ako. Parang hindi ko na iniisip na makaka-atake ako parang gusto ko lang ma-organize lang 'yung block namin. Ganun lang 'yung iniisip ko palagi,” Baclay said during the post-game press conference.

Before her career performance, Baclay had already impressed many with her seven-block outing in their win over the University of the East.

The rookie from Naga College Foundation has been filling in for Season 85 Best Middle Blocker Niña Ytang, who has been absent for the past three games following the recent passing of her mother.

Almadro, meanwhile, couldn’t help but be proud of his rookie, even drawing comparisons to Madayag should she continue her improvement.

“Sabi nga namin kanina after nung nakita namin, 'Oh konti na lang, magagawa mo na 'yung nagawa ni Maddie.' But you know, Maddie is a different nilalang 'yun eh. I mean talagang bato-bato 'yun, but I know Baclay will be going there as long as she keeps working hard and keep herself humble,” said Almadro.

“I'm happy that Pling is doing well in the absence of Niña and really hope na mag-improve pa siya in all other aspects in the skills niya sa volleyball,” he added.

Despite a 1-7 record, the Fighting Maroons have proven to be a pesky team to face as of late.

The Diliman-based squad will seek their second win in Season 86 as they try to exact revenge against their rivals, Ateneo on Sunday, March 24 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 2:00 p.m.

It will be aired on One Sports, the UAAP Varsity Channel, and the Pilipinas Live app.