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Finals loss a chance for Ateneo to grow says Valdez

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After sweeping the elimination rounds of the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference, the Ateneo Lady Eagles looked like they had a clear path to taking the championship. But the Lady Bulldogs had other ideas, masterfully outplaying the Lady Eagles in consecutive games to secure their second SVL title.

Ateneo team captain, Alyssa Valdez took the loss pretty hard, sobbing before the awarding ceremonies, but later had her signature smile back on to receive her silver medal.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Finals loss a chance for Ateneo to grow says Valdez

Alyssa Valdez consoled by former teammate, Charo Soriano, after Ateneo’s loss to NU.

For Valdez, NU exposed many of Ateneo’s weaknesses, offering them a prime chance to grow as a team. “NU played super perfect volleyball talaga. We’re lacking a lot of things, basically a little bit of everything. We didn’t play well in the past two games. It’s anybody’s ball game eh, and we cannot control everything naman. We’re really happy that we gave them a good fight. We saw a lot of things na kailangan namin I-improve as a team, as individuals and to make ourselves better as a team and magkaroon pa lalo ng team work,” the two-time UAAP MVP remarked in her post-game presser.

“We’re hoping that this is going to be an inspiration for us. Sabi nga nila, when you lose there’s no way to go but up. I think that this an early wake up call for the team that anything can happen in just a snap. We should appreciate every little thing na we have now and work on that and try to work as a team next time and be consistent,” she continued adding that the following months will be vital for Ateneo with the collegiate volleyball season to kick off in February.

One of the things the Lady will need to work out is the massive hole in their Libero spot. Last season, the incomparable Denden Lazaro manned the back row for the champs while Ella De Jesus shifted to that position in the SVL to fill the gap. With both ladies exhausting their UAAP playing years, Ateneo still has yet to name a replacement for the upcoming season.

“Wala pa po talagang napagauusapan na papalit. I think coach and the rest of the team’s management has been talking about it, but as of now wala pa pong sinasabi sa amin,” she said. “I volunteer! Joke! Ako na nga target ng kalaban eh,” Valdez quipped.

When asked if she saw similarities with this NU team from the one that beat them in the SVL Finals two years ago, Valdez thought this was a totally different scenario. “I don’t think history repeated itself. I guess one big factor was the presence of NU’s veterans. They were really composed lumabas ‘yung experience nila in championship games. Everyone played great for them, they really deserved it,” she answered remembering that two years ago, she was still being coached by Roger Gorayeb, NU’s current head coach.

There is no rest for the weary, however, with Valdez set to tackle another heated tournament this week, the UAAP Season 78 Beach Volleyball tournament. Alyssa will partner with beach volleyball veteran, Bea Tan. Valdez, however, says she hasn’t yet put in a significant amount of training time in the sand courts. “Nakakahiya nga po kay Bea kasi siya everyday nagttraining talaga. Ako bihira pa. Ang puti ko pa nga po o [shows her arms]. Maputi pa po yan wag kayo magjudge,” Valdez said jokingly.

The UAAP beach volleyball season will open on October 9 at the Sands at SM by the Bay at the MoA Arena.

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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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