It has been an eventful week for University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, with a sensational rookie in Shaila Omipon serving as the protagonist for the Las Piñas crew.
The Lady Altas capped off Week 4 of the NCAA Season 98 women’s volleyball tournament unscathed. They swept fellow contenders Lyceum of the Philippines University and Mapua University to close out their elimination round campaign with an 8-1 card.
Most importantly, Perpetual booked its Final Four ticket after missing out on it in the previous edition. And the Lady Altas have Omipon to thank for it.
The first-year open spiker dropped a team-high 22 points – including the last two attacks – alongside six digs in their 25-21, 25-13, 25-22 triumph over the Lady Pirates last Friday.
She then churned out 13 markers laced with 10 digs as Perpetual claimed a 25-16, 25-19, 25-17 victory against the Lady Cardinals on Sunday. The win formalized their second-seed finish behind defending champion De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.
With her consistent showings so far for Perpetual, the 19-year-old Omipon was hailed the Collegiate Press Corps NCAA Player of the Week recognition presented by San Miguel Corporation and Philippine Sports Commission, as well as minor sponsors MNL Kingpin, Tinapayan Festival and Jockey.
Omipon edged out Benilde’s Jade Gentapa and Gayle Pascual as well as San Sebastian College-Recoletos’ Tina Marasigan for the weekly honors decided and deliberated by scribes regularly covering the league.
Perpetual head coach Sandy Rieta was not surprised by Omipon’s stellar run so far, stressing he trusts all his players as they eye to recover from a dismal seventh-place finish in Season 97.
“Sanay na ako dito [kay Shaila] na mag-perform nang maganda,” Rieta said.
“Malaki naman tiwala ko sa mga players ko, sa kanila. Lagi ko lang sinasabi sa kanila na ang laki ng tiwala namin sa kanila, so kailangan ‘yung tiwala niyo sa sarili niyo, gano’n din.”
The Lady Altas will look to use this momentum when the stepladder Final Four round begins this Sunday starting with the knockout match between Lyceum and Mapua.