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Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag refused to think they were playing final game

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Tiebreaker Times Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag refused to think they were playing final game ADMU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Maddie Madayag Bea De Leon Ateneo Women's Volleyball

For collegiate players, their final matches bring out a spectrum in their level of play. Some crumble, while some make the most of their final outing.

Wednesday against Far Eastern University could have been the last time Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon put on an Ateneo jersey. Last Saturday, the Lady Eagles blew their playoff advantage.

Tiebreaker Times Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag refused to think they were playing final game ADMU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Maddie Madayag Bea De Leon Ateneo Women's Volleyball

Luckily for them, Ateneo’s twice-to-beat incentive gave them one more game.

Heading into the do-or-die match, the Lady Eagles’ co-captains refused to think of the possibility of losing and their UAAP careers coming to an abrupt end.

“We didn’t entertain the thought that it was our last. Didn’t want to, didn’t even wanna mention it. Because we knew and we trusted na this was for us talaga,” De Leon said.

The Lady Eagles eventually beat the Lady Tamaraws in four sets, marking a return to the UAAP’s grandest stage after missing out for the first time in six seasons last year.

“‘Di namin sinali sa option na last game na namin. It’s not a part of our thinking,” said Madayag.

Ateneo’s middle blockers combined for 21 points, including six blocks.

For each player, Season 81 marks their fourth trip to the Finals. As this is their last year, they promise to leave everything on the court.

Tiebreaker Times Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag refused to think they were playing final game ADMU News UAAP Volleyball  UAAP Season 81 Women's Volleyball UAAP Season 81 Maddie Madayag Bea De Leon Ateneo Women's Volleyball

“I’m kind of speechless. Since it’s our last year na rin, it’s really nice to hear na ‘and Ateneo is back in the Finals.’ We just trusted the Lord, we just trusted each other. Binigyan kami ng opportunity and we grabbed it,” said Madayag.

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“I’m very, very grateful. The whole game, we really just prayed. After we lost on Saturday, we really just got together again. I really just want to mention it, even if it’s cheesy or whatever. But the whole time, every message we got just trusted in the Lord and His plan,” said De Leon.

“And today, I just kept praying, regardless [of] where I was – on the bench or on the court. I just want to thank Him so much. He brought us here talaga, it was all Him, all for Him. Of course with the effort of our coaches and our teammates, we continued to fight,” she continued.

“Siyempre, there’s one more job left to do, but we’re thankful we got this one na.”

The Lady Eagles face the UST Tigresses in the Finals, which begins on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Although the Tigresses have not beaten Ateneo since Season 74, Ateneo’s stalwarts remain on high alert.

“Ibang usapan naman ang Finals sa elimination round. For sure both teams will give everything they got,” Madayag stressed.

“Ayun nga, it all boils down to character.”

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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