After dropping a set against UST, reigning 2-time MVP Alyssa Valdez knew that they up are for a big challenge.
Valdez responded to the call in the 4th frame as she helped Ateneo notch its 20th straight win against the pesky Golden Tigresses in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
Despite maintaining their record clean, Valdez cannot help but praise UST’s determination.
“For UST, they will fight. Big hearts talaga yung mga bata, lalaban at lalaban sila. Iba yung puso ng mga UST and with the leadership of EJ (Laure), iba rin yung nadadala niya,” she said after the 4-set win.
With errors taking center stage early, the match evolved into an exhilarating volleyball battle down the stretch, thanks to a Valdez-Rondina showdown.
Valdez, who finished with 23 points off 20 kills, 2 blocks, and an ace, took the game in her hands late to finish the game, but not before a spirited rally by the Espana spikers led by Cherry Rondina.
The petite UST spiker was all over the court once again, this time firing 21 points off 15 kills, 3 service ace, and 3 blocks as she dominated the 3rd set to prevent a sweep.
“Sa beach volleyball pa lang, pag nasa loob sya, she (Rondina) means business. Wala syang ibang iisipin kund hindi killer instincts,” commented Valdez. “Malalayo mararating niya.”
The Ateneo superstar also expressed her high regards to Rondina’s skill sets.
“She helps the team, not only on offense. Kahit maliit, may blocking, may depensa, may first ball, ano pang hahanapin mo,” said Valdez of Rondina, who exploded for 30 points in their opener.
“Most of the players needed the height, pero di niya naman ata kailangan yun,” she joked. — By Jason Mercene