Cruising to their 12th win of the season, the Ateneo Lady Eagles look as dominating as ever. With their recent win over UST, team captain Alyssa Valdez shared her thoughts on the win, the team’s injury woes, and what Mich Morente brings to the team.
Alyssa was dismayed that the team coughed up 24 errors during the game, but for her, what’s more alarming for the team is the fact that they are suffering injuries during the crucial moments of the tournament. With a depleted lineup, Alyssa said it will be difficult for the team, especially during practice. Not only that, the team has just 2 games to go before the start of the playoffs, and she hopes that the team is able to take care of their health.
“Yes, in 3 sets, oh my god. Well, Hindi lang errors, naka dalawa pa kaming sprain today, diba? Hindi namin alam kung ano yung nangyayari. But then, we’re really thankful that we survived this game. Very well played eh, yung UST sobrang ganda ng game. Yung depensa nila, nag adjust sa rotation nila. Siguro pinapakita lang sa amin na madami pa kaming kelangan i-improve, and marami kaming kelangan i-adjust kasi madaming nai-injure. So kelangan namin talaga maging healthy physically, emotionally, lahat na. Ngayon na 2 games bago matapos yung 2nd round. So we really have to be healthy and take care of ourselves.”
“Ubos na nga kami sa gitna eh. Last man standing si Kiwi eh. Sabi nga namin, ‘Kiwi ingat ah.’ Grabe magiging adjustment namin, magiging adjustment ni coach sa team, lalo na sa training. Wala na kaming kalaro, iilan nalang kami. Malaki magiging adjustment namin hindi lang sa spiking, sa blocking din namin.”
The team’s match against UST was the first time this year that the team fielded last year’s finals starting six. Alyssa was happy for graduating player, Aerieal Patnongon, but said that whoever coach starts, the team will still do their best to win.
“We’re really happy for ate Aerieal, siyempre it’s her last year to play sa UAAP din. Kung sino naman ipasok eh we’re really happy and we’re really inspired to play. Kasi we’re enjoying the game, and pag nasa loob ng court, we’re there to play what we love. Magkakasama pa kami, we laugh each time we get a point, or kahit hindi kami makapoint. Very happy, very light.”
With just 2 games before the playoffs begin, Alyssa still stresses that the team take it one game at a time, and despite notching a sure twice-to-beat advantage during the playoffs, the team still works just as hard, if not harder, than before, citing consistency as one of the main areas that the team has to improve on.
“For coach Tai it’s even harder sa training. Sabi nga nila pag andun ka sa top, everyone is eyeing for you. We have to train harder. Para ma maintain namin and maging consistent kami, diba kasi kulang kami sa consistency. We have to work on that pa, there’s a lot to improve pa.”
“Parang ang bilis, it’s really fast for us. Next game talaga tinatarget namin. One game at a time talaga. After the second round, tsaka na yung next stage, diba? At least alam namin kung saan magfofocus.”
Michelle Morente, one of the main contributors to Ateneo’s run to the championship last year, hasn’t had a lot of playing time this season. Recently, though, she has been inserted back into the starting 6, and she was one of the key cogs to Ateneo’s victory over UST. Alyssa had nothing but praises to say about her teammate.
“Every time sinasabi ni coach tai, si Mich talaga pag may laro siya it’s easier for the team to get the win. Siyempre dapat lahat kami mag contribute, pero pag si Mich talaga iba yung happiness niya, iba yung nadadala niyang smile sa team eh. Sige nagcocontribute siya sa points, iba pa yung nacocontribute niya sa amin physically, emotionally, and mentally. It’s so light to play with Mich talaga.”
Alyssa’s parting words to the media was to complement the game that UST played. She said that the Tigresses played like a team, and helped each other, but at the end of the day, only one team can come out the winner. She said that Ateneo was lucky that they won over UST.
“Nagtulong-tulong talaga sila. They had the teamwork. Pero siyempre at the end of the day isa lang talaga mananalo. We’re lucky, the team is lucky to get the W today.”