La Salle could have won the first match had it not been for their meltdowns in the first two sets. They also let a prime chance to beat an undermanned Ateneo team slip in the second round.
Come Game One of the Finals, the Lady Spikers knew they had a lot to prove. And so they did.
In this four-set win, the Lady Spikers outclassed the Lady Eagles in the last three frames to get the series edge. What they had lacked in the elimination round — finishing touch, leadership — the Lady Spikers had in bunches in the series opener.
“A lot changed with my mindset and the team’s overall mentality. Mas may kapit na kami,” said sophomore Tine Tiamzon who powered in a team-high 15 points.
When things looked dire in the second set, the Lady Spikers erased an 18-23 deficit to escape with their first set win.
“Sabi ko lang sa teammates ko na kakapit kami, ‘di kami magpapatalo. Proud ako kasi lumaban kami as a team,” said La Salle captain Kim Fajardo who powered her team with 10 points and 37 excellent sets.
“Coach asked us what we wanted to do. We told him that we wanted to win. From that one statement, I think we proved to him and to everyone na may kapit po kami. Hindi po kami bibitaw basta-basta lang. Sabi nga ni, coach ibang laro na ‘to. Finals na ‘to,” added Tiamzon.
The job, however, is not yet done. The Lady Spikers will need more of this effort to close out the series in Game Two on Saturday.
“I’m excited. Definitely want to win it for everyone who supported us and everyone on the team,” expressed Kianna Dy.
And Fajardo is hoping that Saturday will be her last UAAP game — ironic as it sounds.
“Oo. Sana last game ko na,” Fajardo added with the cool confidence she’s made her signature.