De La Salle University’s sweetest triumph in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball has finally come after two seasons of frustration.
Ateneo De Manila University dominated UAAP women’s volleyball and defeated La Salle twice for the past two years. But La Salle prevented its grand slam bid in Season 78 by posting a 19-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-16 win on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Long time Lady Spikers mentor Ramil De Jesus even said that he would enjoy first the moment of being a champion once again rather than thinking of her graduating players Ara Galang, Mika Reyes and Cyd Demecillo who will leave the team this year.
“I’m not thinking about the future or next year because I really wanted to savor this moment [winning the title after two years]. We did not give up. This is the sweetest championship,” De Jesus told reporters. “We’ve waited for this for so long and I’m so proud that we got it.”
“Losing a title is very painful that’s why they exert a lot of effort to win this time, losing is hard that’s why we exert one year in training,” De Jesus added.
La Salle has now nine women’s volleyball title.
“At the same time, only Mika Reyes will leave the school as a graduating player, while other players have still few subjects to finish and they can still guide the young players. The level of the team is still there and they can still guide some of our players.”
La Salle took away Game 1 via 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 but Ateneo bounced back winning Game 2 (18-25, 26-28, 25-17, 25-16, 15-11) to force a deciding Game 3.
De Jesus revealed La Salle’s secret game plan, saying that they neutralized Alyssa Valdez’s hard-hitting moves by effective blocking adjustments in Game 3 especially in the last three sets. La Salle made 62 attempts in blocks and converted 10 while Ateneo attempted 52 and got six only.
Although they stopped Valdez, the graduating Ateneo player still finished with 30 kills for 30 points in Game 3.
“They wanted to pressure our starters and the good thing is we’ve won in Game 1 first. Ateneo’s adrenalin is also high. We managed to adjust in Game 3 after we lost in Game 2,” said De Jesus. “Blocking was one of our game plans and that was effective.”
Graduating player Ara Galang said she did her very best in Game 3.
“I forgot everything and exerted more effort in the last game. I focused more on being an athlete,” she said. “I didn’t think about my injury. It is part of being an athlete. I made it as my motivation to comeback.”
JOSEF T. RAMOS