University of the East Lady Warriors libero Kath Arado proved that in volleyball, one can help the cause even without scoring.
The UE senior was the catalyst in the Lady Warriors’ offense, with her vaunted floor defense on full display as UE scored a huge upset over the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.
Arado’s feat in covering the floor to help deliver the Lady Warriors’ second straight win has earned her the nod as recipient of the SMART Sports/UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week honor.
The 5-foot-4 libero tallied 32 excellent receptions and 28 digs as the Lady Warriors shocked the Tigresses, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26, 26-24, last Wednesday to open the second round elimination of the UAAP Season 80 Women’s Volleyball Tournament.
Interim coach Rod Roque praised the Arado’s heroics, as her cat-quick reflexes and nose for the ball sparked UE’s counterattacks against the power-hitting UST side led by Sisi Rondina.
“Eh number one naman ‘yan eh. number one ‘yan sa UAAP, number one ‘yan sa puso namin,” said Roque, whose wards ended the first round with a five-set win over the Adamson Lady Falcons that snapped their 13-game losing skid.
“Kahit na sa practice nga eh, babalagbag ‘yan. ‘Kath, okay ka lang ba?’ ‘Opo okay pa po ako.’ Pero kita mo ‘yung pain sa mukha niya nandoon kasi bumalagbag na,” he added.
“Kath, you’re number one, you’re the one.”
The Lady Warriors improved their record to 2-6, tied with their victims.
UE handed UST their fourth straight defeat, and also marked the first time the Lady Warriors prevailed over the Tigresses since the start of the Final Four era in 1994.
The Lady Warriors also claimed their first back-to-back victories since Season 74, but most importantly, they’ve given themselves a fighting chance to vie for a spot in the Final Four, if not improve their record from last year’s seventh-place finish.
“Sa akin lang talaga, gusto ko talaga ‘yung mabago talaga ang tingin nila sa UE,” said the Season 77 Rookie of the Year Arado.
“Noong unang game pa lang namin sa UAAP, ‘yun talaga ang nasa isip ko na, ngayon na season na ‘to, gusto ko talagang baguhin ang tingin nila sa UE, which is nangyayari naman talaga.”
Arado was awarded the weekly honor given by broadsheet, tabloid and online publication reporters covering the beat, edging out other top performers in teammate Mary Anne Mendrez; Kim Kianna Dy of the DLSU Lady Spikers; Tots Carlos of the UP Lady Maroons; and Ateneo Lady Eagles’ Jho Maraguinot.
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