Heading into the Arellano Lady Chiefs’ do-or-die tilt against the Perpetual Lady Altas, Necole Ebuen was not playing like an MVP.
Arellano’s sophomore spiker managed just seven points in Game One of the Finals against Perpetual, which put Arellano’s three-peat bid in jeopardy.
When Ebuen received the NCAA Season 94 Women’s Volleyball MVP award, the 21-year-old knew she had a lot to prove. The former Letran Lady Knight had played tremendously throughout Arellano’s elimination round campaign.
But, those matches barely had an audience and weren’t televised. All volleyball fans have seen were her games in the semis and Finals.
Game Two was not only Arellano’s last chance to keep their dynasty alive; it was also Ebuen’s chance to prove her doubters wrong.
“Iniisip ko po noong tinanggap ko ang award na ‘yun, sinabi ko sa sarili ko na ipapakita ko pa po ang best ko.
“Kasi maraming nagsasabi na hindi ko po deserve ‘yung award na ‘yun. Pero sabi ko, papatunayan ko sa inyo na deserve ko itong award na ‘to. Ipinakita ko po talaga ang best ko kanina. Kumapit po ako sa game namin,” the native of Zambales stressed, fighting off tears during the post-game press conference
Ebuen put in an emotionally-charged performance, managing 18 points and 18 digs. She even played through a sprained right ankle in the fifth set.
“Masakit po siya pero hindi ko po ininda, sabi ko po ilalaban ko ‘yung game namin na ito para makaabot kami ng Game Three.”
The Lady Chiefs will try to go for a third straight title on Tuesday. And Arellano head coach Obet Javier knows he only needs to remind his players to keep playing for the school.
“Lagi ko lang ire-remind sa mga bata ang plano namin this season, ‘yung pangarap namin na makuha namin ang pangatlo para sa school. Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila na ‘wag sanang mawala ang mga pinaghirapan.”