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Fajardo makes final run memorable

Tears were flowing from just about everyone’s eyes, except Kim Fajardo’s.

“Bakit ako iiyak? Champion ako,” Fajardo gleefully yelled at a reporter.

The Batangueña had just powered the De La Salle University Lady Spikers to back-to-back UAAP titles, sweeping rivals Ateneo de Manila University in the Finals Saturday night.

As the confetti rained on the sacred ground of the SMART-Araneta Coliseum, Fajardo let herself be covered by streamers and absorbed the bright lights of the UAAP for the last time.

Fajardo had known this was where she would be when the season started. It just took a lot out of her and the Lady Spikers.

It had started in the off-season build-up to Season 79. The Lady Spikers had lost several pre-season tournaments without Fajardo as their driver.

At the time, the team captain had still been unsure about coming back for her final playing year. Ultimately, the draw of winning a third championship was too much for her to pass up on.

La Salle went into Season 79 having to incorporate several new pieces. The undoubted leader of the team, Fajardo foresaw what her squad needed.UAAP-79-F4-DLSU-vs.-UST-Cheng-1438 Fajardo makes final run memorable DLSU News UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Mga bata pa kasi ‘yung nasa team. Hindi bata sa edad, sa pag-iisip. Kailangan matuto sila na dalhin ‘yung sarili nila at gawin ‘yung part nila,” the 5-foot-8 setter told Tiebreaker Times before the season began.

The adjustment period was long for La Salle. It took almost an entire round for their new starters to take charge. Even when the Lady Spikers clinched a Final Four berth, the need to mature on all fronts was still grand — especially when they lost to Ateneo for a second time at the end of the elimination round.

“Pero iba na kasi kapag Finals. Parehong team mag-a-adjust, maghahanda. Siyempre hindi namin hahayaan na matalo kami ulet,” the 23-year-old thought before the Finals.

In true form, Fajardo’s confidence rubbed off on the team. While her teammates wanted to win it for her, Fajardo was prouder because her younger teammates were making a name for themselves.UAAP-79-DLSU-vs.-ADMU-G1-Baron-4791 Fajardo makes final run memorable DLSU News UAAP Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Ayoko talagang naririnig sa kanila na gusto nila manalo para sa akin.

“Mas masaya ako na may ganito silang naiwan para sa La Salle. Achievement namin ‘to na sana madala nila sa lahat ng gagawin nila in the future,” the three-time UAAP indoor volleyball champion proudly shared.

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Perhaps La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus summed up Fajardo the best.

“Kim Fajardo siya. So alam niya na ‘yun. Magaling talaga siya,” the ten-time champion mentor declared.

Written By

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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