𝗖𝗢𝗨𝗥𝗧𝗦𝗜𝗗𝗘 𝗦𝗖𝗢𝗢𝗣│𝗕𝗼𝗺𝗯𝗶𝘁𝗮, 𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗲: 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗢𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗦𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗩𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝘆𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁
With satisfying attacks and impressive defenses, keeping the volleyball courts on fire with their jaw-dropping rallies, and fighting for every point- these are how volleyball fans and sports enthusiasts in Bicol describe Nathasza Kaye Bombita and Arah Ellah Panique of NCF Tigers – women’s volleyball team, inside the arena.
What if the lens opted
to focus on what the naked eyes failed to see? Who are Bombita and Panique when the camera captures their other sides? Join us, as we unveil their stories from the other side of the court here in our Courtside Scoop.
The premier aces of NCF Tigers women’s volleyball team— the 17-year-old opposite spiker Nathazsa Kaye Bombita and the 18-year-old open spiker Arah Ellah Panique are in their 12th grade, specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) at Naga College Foundation, Inc. – Basic Education Department.
Bombita came from the land of Tamban, Tinambac, Camarines Sur, while Panique grew up in San Enrique, Negros Occidental.
Bombita is the youngest among her siblings who are also volleyball athletes and who have established their names in national and local volleyball leagues. Inspired by her sisters’ competencies on the hard court, Bombita started to play volleyball during her seventh grade. However, her father blocked her way through the volleyball arena during her eighth grade as her fascination to sports affected her academic performance.
Bombita saw the opportunities behind the mesh anew— she then played in a certain local tournament in 2018 at Ragay, Camarines Sur under Team Tinambac. Her team faced the NCF Tigers in the said tournament. During the match, Joel C. Villanueva, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Marketing and Public Relations Office (IMPRO) saw her potential.
Villanueva talked to the parents of Bombita to seek permission of recruiting the latter and be part of the Home of the Champions. Despite the hesitations and uncertainties, the recruitment process was sealed after both parties came to terms.
“I said yes because I love playing volleyball and I don’t want to lose the rare opportunity of being a scholar and an athlete playing for and with the champions,” Bombita said when asked about affirming the recruitment.
“My father also said yes because he knew how NCF takes care of its athletes and provides opportunities for them,” she added.
Meanwhile, raised in the family of sports-enthusiast, Arah Ella Panique was recruited by Mr. Parley Tupas, NCF women’s volleyball team Coach, through Panique’s sister – Abigail Panique, former lady tiger and presently playing under the mentorship of Adamson University.
Arah Ellah Panique was immersed in various sports, namely, badminton, track and field, futsal, and sepak takraw. However, her sister told her the importance of mastering one sports event and encouraged her to focus on volleyball considering her towering potential in the said field.
With Panique’s consent, Tupas sought permission from her parents for her to stay in Naga City, play for NCF and pursue her studies at the same time. Tupas eventually obtained the permission of her parents as the latter considered the rareness of the opportunity which will open doors for her personal and professional growth.
“Despite the distance, I grabbed the opportunity. I am away from my family which sometimes caused my sadness, but I always go back to my core- why am I doing this? I am doing my best here in NCF with a motivation to give back to my parents and make sure that their sacrifices will be paid off,” Panique said.
“I never regret my decision of staying here and I am happy that my parents supported me – NCF did not fail to assist and provide our needs,” she added.
Time flies and events happened as quick as a flash. Bombita and Panique entrusted their sports and academic quest to NCF upon their transfer to the institution in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
Sharing the same opinion, Bombita and Panique accentuated that they have improved as athletes as the training program of NCF is unparalleled to any other program they encountered. They also mentioned that Coach Parley Tupas himself and his exceptional experiences also serve as great aids for their growth as athletes.
According to Panique, the influence of volleyball and the tiger sports community on her personal growth and discipline is incomparable. She became more focused and disciplined, and was able to control her emotions which improved her mental health.
Bombita, on the other hand, said that volleyball gave her supplemental motivation and boosted her confidence. She planned to conclude her volleyball career after her senior high school. However, her plan changed after Alexa Nichole Mata, former lady tiger, now National University Bulldog, showed her the path of excelling in academics and pursuing a sports career at the same time. For her, volleyball is both a means and an end – volleyball is helping her achieve her aspirations and providing her self-fulfillment and career gratification.
“I do not want to lose the opportunity offered by the big universities in Manila… It is my way of helping my parents. I will work on my dreams of becoming a health professional and still do my passion for playing volleyball,” Bombita uttered.
𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴
When asked about their memorable match, Bombita and Panique shared the same sentiment – the VolleyPrep Beach Volleyball Tournament at Infanta, Quezon on June 20-21, 2022. These lady tigers mentioned that beach volleyball is new to them, hence, not their cup of tea. Despite their unfamiliarity with the kind of game and their one-week training, the team of Bombita and Panique placed second against the second team of NCF Lady Tigers.
“It is not an easy road. We are competing against teams composed of UAAP athletes and alumni from all over the Philippines… We lost but we overcame our fear of competing with the renowned volleyball teams and players in the Philippines,” Bombita stated.
Indeed, not all unforgettable moments speak about being hailed as a champion, a star player, and a phenomenal, – as sometimes, the moments that are hard to be escaped are the ones that appraised personality, circumstances that overcame difficulties, and situations where overthrowing doubts and establishing trust were learned.
Bombita and Panique did not consider themselves as star players of NCF Women’s Volleyball Team for the reason that their “skills cannot suffice enough the honor and competence that being a star player requires”. However, these athletes aimed for excellence – both eyeing the UAAP spots – despite the hardships of sailing on two boats.
Furthermore, Bombita and Panique committed to bringing more accolades until their last set, spike, and block – wearing the jersey labeled as Lady Tiger.