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Tiebreaker Times


Thea Gagate steps up as “Ate” for La Salle

Key players may have already left De La Salle University for various reasons, but Thea Gagate remains confident in their chances in the upcoming UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament, which kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Following the Lady Spikers’ successful run to the championship last season, leaders Jolina Dela Cruz and Mars Alba turned professional with F2 Logistics in the Premier Volleyball League.

The two had exhausted all their playing years in the collegiate ranks.

Then came the shockers.

More than a month after winning the UAAP gold, energetic middle blocker Fifi Sharma signed with PVL team Akari in July.

Justine Jazareno, who could have played for three more years with La Salle, also joined the Chargers in September.

Despite these departures, Gagate believes that the Lady Spikers have what it takes to retain the crown and secure back-to-back championships.

“Very confident kasi lahat ng pinaghihirapan namin kailangan na namin ilabas all throughout the game each game,” said the 6-foot-2 middle blocker during the tournament press conference at the SM Mall of Asia Arena lobby on Monday.

In preparation for their title defense, the Lady Spikers traveled to Thailand, facing professional club teams, including multiple-time champion Supreme VC.

They also participated in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League National Invitationals, where they clinched the championship against Adamson University.

UAAP-85-WVB-Finals-G2-DLSU-vs.-NU-Ramil-De-Jesus-3597 Thea Gagate steps up as "Ate" for La Salle News PVL Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“As what Coach Ramil always says, kailangan lang talaga namin pagisipan ang mga pinaghihirapan namin sa training, lahat ng sacrifices namin.

“Kailangan namin ilabas yun every game na dapat ibigay lang namin yung bawat skill na pinaghirapan namin,” shared Gagate on what needs to be done to defend the crown.

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With their former seniors gone, the leadership baton has now passed to Gagate and team captain Julia Coronel, with support from last year’s rookie MVP Angel Canino, SSL MVP Shevana Laput, and others who decided to stay.

Gagate, in particular, fully embraces the role assigned to her by the coaching staff led by Ramil de Jesus. She is now eager to be the one called “Ate” by the younger players.

“Iniisip lang namin na kaya namin kasi ngayon panahon na namin ito, tapos na yung time nila Ate Mars, ngayon time na namin ni Julia to lead the team,” said the two-time UAAP Best Middle Blocker.

“We’re just very grateful to be given the chance and we just always remind the younger batches na kaming ate seniors ay nandito lang para sa kanila.”

Written By

Just a kid from Cavite trying to make a difference.

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