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With injuries piling up, Valdez needed to play against SSC

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According to initial reports, Ateneo’s management hoped to sit Alyssa Valdez out for the first month of the Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference to rest the volleyball star after a busy past few months. But things didn’t go as planned.

With much hyped rookie, Kat Tolentino severely injuring her knee last week, then Ella De Jesus suffering an eye injury, and Jia Morado recuperating after knee surgery, the Lady Eagles needed bodies to get through the season. Luckily, Alyssa Valdez has unending stamina.

“Kasi maraming na-injure sa team. Wala si Kat (Tolentino), si Ella (De Jesus), si Jia (Morado)… and I’m part of the lineup din naman. ‘Yung responsibilty ko sa team kailangan ko rin gawin. As a teammate kailangan ko suportahan ‘yung team,” said the two-time UAAP MVP.

“Buti na lang po may dala akong gamit,” she jokingly added when asked when she found out she was going to play; pulling from an experience she had with coach Tai Bundit. “Sabi nga ni coach, as a player, dapat parati kang prepared, kahit anong mangyari. ‘Nung nasa Singapore kasi nabasa ng ulan ‘yung sapatos ko, sabi ko sa kanya ‘No shoes coach’ sabi niya (coach Tai) ‘As a player you (should have brought) two shoes’. It was a learning experience, those little things, na kahit sinasabi nila na I’m not going to play. As a part of the lineup kailangan ready pa rin ako.”

Still, Valdez admitted that she wasn’t in full game shape yet as she had only been working on her conditioning in trainings but not fully on her volleyball skills, especially on spiking. Valdez was thankful, however, that her teammates started to blossom in her absence.

“I’m really happy that my teammates have been delivering. Si Jho (Maraguinot) ganyan na talaga kagaling yan, si Kiwi (Amy Ahomiro) everyone was great. Even Jamie (Lavitoria) ngayon lang siya nag-libero and we’re happy that she played really well, sobrang proud kami,” Valdez quipped.

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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