When De La Salle University faced rival Ateneo de Manila University in the elimination round of the 2023 V-League Collegiate Challenge, one key piece of the Green Spikers was nullified by the Ateneo defense.
Noel Kampton, who had been averaging in double figures in the first six matches for De La Salle, was limited to a mere two points in this game. Therefore, it came as no surprise that when the two teams met again for Game 1 of the semifinal series, the UAAP Season 84 men's beach volleyball Rookie of the Year did not start.
"I don't really know what hit me; I was just really out of focus in that game," the outside hitter admitted. "So, when I was not included in the starting six for Game 1, it was nothing unexpected. Even though I knew I could contribute more to the team, I still performed poorly in the elimination game and didn't deserve the starting position."
With the season hanging in the balance, the former national team upstart knew he had to make amends.
"So, what I did was show the coaches during our recent training sessions that I am ready to start again. I really want to help the team, and I will score as much as I can. Fortunately, the coach saw my determination and overlooked my previous performance," Kampton quipped.
A remarkable 26-point performance and, more importantly, a Game 2 victory, were an understatement for that bounce-back performance from the prolific hitter. And that is the same kind of performance Kampton aims to replicate in the do-or-die Game 3 on Sunday.
"The most crucial factor on Sunday is that the team that wants it more will win. If it's Ateneo, they will win. If it's us, then we will get the victory," Kampton concluded.