Madayag shows no nerves, stars for Ateneo in first start

After a breakout debut as a starter, Ateneo’s Maddie Madayag admitted she’s still trying to adjust to her new role as a regular for the Lady Eagles.

“I was really nervous because it’s my first game to start and play the whole set,” she told FOX Sports in Filipino after scoring an impressive 13 points off 5 blocks, 5 kills and 3 aces against NU last Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The void left by the departure of stars Denden Lazaro and Ella de Jesus inspired concerns for Ateneo in the preseason, but with Madayag and new libero Gizelle Tan delivering stellar performances, those questions seem to have been answered, at least for now.

The Davao native, who was a trained wushu artist when she was younger, said coach Tai Bundit slowly integrated her into the rotation as Season 78 approached.

And while the defending champions showed they have not lost one step since winning their second straight UAAP crown last March, Madayag admits they still miss the veteran presence of both Lazaro and De Jesus.

“We haven’t gotten used to them not being around anymore,” she said. “It’s a new team, but it’s the same dream.”

By Jason Mercene