The Ateneo women’s volleyball team recently concluded their first round games with a victory over the De La Salle Lady Spikers. Ateneo had difficulty in the first three sets, committing over 40 errors, and getting into a 1-2 set disadvantage over their rivals. They were able to calm themselves in the fourth and fifth sets to come away with the victory. Alyssa Valdez spoke to the media post-game and talked about how the game went.
Valdez said that the multiple errors in the first three sets- 15 of them coming in the third- didn’t bother the team, citing Coach Tai who was continuously motivating his players during the game.
“Of course di naman mawawala yung kaba. Kahit naglalaro kami every week, siyempre meron pressure sa sarili namin to perform well. Since si Coach Tai lagi kami rineremind na you just need to play. Happy. Tapos treat it like ginagawa namin sa training, kung gaano ka intense yung training. Yun lang isipin namin. Nadidivert yung isip namin so di na kami masyadong nappressure at kinakabahan.”
“Lagi sinasabi ni Coach Tai, ‘keep trying’ kasi pag mag give up kami, lalong walang mangyayari. So try lang ng try, since grabe yung tiwala ni Coach Tai sa amin. Kahit mag error kami, kahit ilan sunod-sunod pa yan, sasabihin niya sa amin ‘heart strong’. Tapos ikaw as a player pag ganun maririnig mo, siyempre mabubuhayan ka ng loob, ‘ah siya may tiwala sa akin, bakit ako wala?”
DLSU rookie Christine Soyud played well in her first ADMU vs DLSU game, even scoring on a huge block on Valdez during the second set, with the score tied at 24 all.
“Sobrang talented, and matangkad talaga siya. Ngayon ko talaga nakita ng malapitan yung rookies ng La Salle. Ang liit ko pala. Sobrang talented and sobrang galing ng timing ni Coach Ramil sa pag bunot sa kanya. Yung crucial na second set, diba 24 all? Nablock niya ako. Sobrang galing.”
Some Ateneo fans did not like what they saw, when Soyud pointed at Valdez after the block. Valdez was asked what she thought of the action, but she claimed she didn’t see it happen.
“Hindi ko po nakita, kasi I went to my teammates kaagad right after. That’s the most important thing naman eh. I didn’t see.”
Valdez also had good things to say about her team’s Taft-based opponents.
“They play the same. Super hardworking, sobrang tiyaga nila sa bola. Si Ara sobrang hands down talaga, siya magre-receive, tapos sobrang sipag niya, papalo pa siya. They never give up.”
Playing in numerous tournaments prior to the UAAP, you’d think that the Lady Eagles are hoping to get some rest, but Valdez says the team doesn’t think about it, focusing on the task of defending their title instead.
“Lagi naman andun yung pagod eh, pero it’s a mind game after all. Pagpasok mo sa court, lagi sinasabi ni Coach Roger sa amin dati, 99% pagpasok mo ng court psychological, 1% talaga yung skill. Kung mahina yung dibdib mo, wala iisipin mo pagod ka lang. So laban lang.”
“Andun na yun eh, never atang nag break din kami since last year’s finals. Tuloy-tuloy yung tournaments namin. Worth it naman eh. Siguro after this season, mabigyan kami ng break. After na namin iisipin yung break.”
With Ateneo’s perfect 7-0 first round, Valdez was asked if Ateneo was the standard that other teams strive to become. She shrugged it off claiming that at the end of the day, it is God who decides who wins and who loses.
“Pana-panahon naman talaga eh. Hindi masasabi kung ano ilalaro namin talaga, kung mananalo kami. Depende talaga sa trinaining namin, tsaka kay God. At the end of the day, siya yung magdedecide kung ano mangyayari sa lahat.”
Valdez also believes that the second round will be more exciting than the first. With each team already getting a feel of their opponents, things will surely be more interesting when the break ends.
“Lahat talaga nag-iimprove. Sa first round naggagamayan, titignan kung sino yung teams na babantayan mo. For sure sa second round definitely mas interesting yung games. Kasi lahat may experience na.”
Over 18,000 people watched the final game of the first round. When told about how many people watched, Valdez was thankful for the support that people give to the sport. She hopes that people continue to support their schools, and hope that more will watch during the second round.
“Thank you so much. First round pa lang, sana sa second round mas marami tayo. Kahit sa covered courts feeling ko pupunta sila.”