When Kyla Inquig woke up in the morning of April 5, 2018, she probably did not imagine how the rest of her day would go.
In what has her final game for the De La Salle University Lady Archers, Inquig’s virtuoso performance allowed the Green and White to prevail 2-1 over the UST Lady Booters at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila to seal the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Football Championship.
“Nung hindi pa nag-start yung game, inisip ko na dapat maglaro ako nang maayos dahil last game ko na, fifth year,” said the Most Valuable Player awardee for Seasons 79 and 80 after her brace powered La Salle to its 10th championship.
“Dapat ibigay ko na ang lahat para sa team ko.”
Season 80 has been a bumpy ride for Inquig and the rest of the Lady Archers. If Season 79 was perfection, then this year was all about going through hell in order to reach heaven. Those struggles simply made this championship sweeter for the Taft school.
”Siguro nung last two games, sobrang down namin dahil sa mga isyu pero sabi ni coach (Hans-Peter Smit) na kahit kulang kami, hindi kami healthy… alam niya naman kase na kaya namin. So yun na-motivate kami na gawin naming (lahat) hanggang matapos ang game,” said Inquig.
“Naka-adjust naman kami kase gusto naming manalo. Yung winning attitude nandun talaga.”
La Salle were undeniably the underdogs this time around against UST. The Lady Archers succumbed 0-1 and, worse, 2-5, in the elimination round at the hands of the Lady Booters. The prospect of beating UST when it mattered most this season proved to be enough motivation for the team to bounce back in the biggest way.
Inquig shared, “Siguro mas naging confident yung team namin. Mas nag-focus kami sa training. Para sa amin, twice na natalo kami (vs UST), enough na. Ayaw namin matalo ulit.”
In the end, Inquig’s two long-range strikes sandwiched Mae Cadag’s leveler to hand the Lady Archers their first successful title defense since Season 68. In her five-year stint with La Salle, Inquig has won two gold medals, one silver finish and two MVP gongs. Not a bad way to end your stint in the UAAP.
“The best feeling kasi before akong grumadweyt MVP tapos champion pa so wala na akong ibang hihilingin. Sobrang saya at thankful ako sa La Salle at sa coaching staff din,” said Inquig. “Gusto ko lang na ipagpatuloy lang nila yung fighting spirit na La Salle. Kung pwede, fourth straight finals na kaya naman nila kasi ang lalakas nila.
“Tiwala lang at puso every game.”
With no pro or semi-pro league to play at in the Philippines, the UAAP will probably be the highest form of competition that Inquig will participate in unless she gets called up for national team duty. Nevertheless, the La Salle star already had plans for her future.
“Siguro pag may time (laro ako ng football) ako kasi mag-proceed ako sa Philippine Air Force so baka maging busy din ako kasi mag-aaral din ako dun. If may time at bakante ako, pwede naman ako maglaro for national team,” explained Inquig.
“Hindi ko naman talaga iiwanan ang paglaro ng football.”
Only a few student-athletes would get to bow out the way Inquig did. If she woke up not knowing what to expect on the morning of April 5, then she probably did not want to sleep that evening, as she will always cherish the events of that afternoon.
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