Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University posted a thrilling 18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11 come-from-behind win over De La Salle University to force a rubber match in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 78 women’s volleyball best-of-three finals on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Three-time season Most Valuable Player (MVP) Alyssa Valdez pulled off 34 markers including 32 kills as the Lady Eagles tied the series at 1-1.
“God is good, they gave us another chance. So, it’s not yet over. Let’s see each other on Saturday,” said Valdez.
“We are really just happy in today’s game. Winning is not just about winning. After winning, there is a big responsibility after. Kailangan muna nating kalimutan yung win today and remember all the things we did right, analyze yung mga ginawa naming mali and fix it during the training,” added Valdez, who also won the Best Server and Best Scorer awards.
Jhoana Maraguinot added 15 points while Bea De Leon and Amy Ahomiro scored 12 and nine, respectively. Setter Jia Morado had 70 excellent sets.
The other individual awardees were Molde of University of the Philippines (Rookie of the Year), Jaja Santiago of National University (Best Spiker), and La Salle’s Dawn Macandili (Best Digger and Best Receiver), Mary Joy Baron (Best Blocker) and Kim Fajardo (Best Setter).
In the men’s division, Ateneo blasted NU, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19, to complete a back-to-back romp.
Finals MVP Ysrael Wilson Marasigan scored 12 points including 11 kills and an ace while Season MVP Marck Jesus Espejo chipped in 11 markers for Ateneo.
“This is award is very special to me because when coach Oliver became our mentor, he already made me the team captain. This year, I lived up to the real meaning of being a team captain to my teammates and I want to leave them with good performance they can replicate,” said Marasigan.