The ghost of the Smart Araneta Coliseum continued to haunt Alyssa Valdez on Tuesday night.
Valdez and her Creamline Cool Smashers squandered a 2-0 advantage en route to a five-set loss to the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in their first-ever match-up in the 2022 Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
Indeed, it was reminiscent of Valdez’s final game for Ateneo – which also happened at the very same venue – where they already took an early 1-0 advantage over rival La Salle in the Game Three of the UAAP Season 78 finals before losing the next three to surrender the title.
Memories of that painful loss, which put an end to their two-year dominance in the UAAP, definitely flashed back in Valdez’s mind as she went up against a Cargo Movers side bannered by former Lady Spikers Kim Fajardo, Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, Dawn Macandili, Ara Galang, to name a few.
“Welcome to Araneta,” Valdez quipped to open up the post-game press conference. “The last time ko talaga na naalala ko pa, syempre very memorable was my last year in the UAAP.
“And it wasn’t a good memory siguro also.”
The Cool Smashers looked like they were on their way to sweeping the contest but F2 Logistics proved to have other plans as they amped up their blockings and loaded their service aces in the next two frames to send the game to a decider.
In the fifth frame, Kianna Dy, Aby Maraño, and Shola Alvarez kick-started a 3-0 spurt that gave the Cargo Movers a four-point advantage, 13-9, before Lindsay Stalzer and Elaine Kasilag finished off the rousing comeback.
The Ateneo legend came up with 12 points and 16 excellent digs in the 22-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-11 loss that dropped them to 5-1 in the standings.
For sure, it was not the result that Valdez and co. wanted. Still, just like in her heart-breaking final game for the then Lady Eagles, the reigning Reinforced Conference MVP said that she learned a lot from this loss.
“But I’ve learned from that. Like now, the result wasn’t the result we wanted as a team, also. But definitely, kahit medyo paulit-ulit lang, talagang ang dami mo ring natutunan sa mga ganitong games,” said Valdez.
“We’re just really gonna work harder after this game.”