Mika Esperanza on facing Ateneo again: Hungrier than ever

If there’s one person in La Salle uniform who is pumped up to return for another Green vs. Blue volleyball showdown, it will be veteran Mika Esperanza.

After missing Season 77 due to an ACL tear, the La Salle setter has long waited for the moment that she can exact revenge and fulfill a promise after their embarrassing Finals loss against Ateneo 2 years ago. 

“Hungrier than ever. Yung feeling na gusto ko ulit mafeel yung mga nafeel ko for the past years ng career ko,” said Esperanza, a 3-time UAAP champion, to FOX Sports.

On Saturday, the Lady Spikers will have a chance to finally crack streaking Ateneo, a team that has puzzled them the past 2 years.

Esperanza, who is in her final year of eligibility, believes that the team is more focused on moving on rather than dwelling on the ghosts of the past.

“I think we’re looking forward than looking backward. It’s another season, new composition of the team, we’re working on what we have now and probably translate it to the game,” she said.

With her return to the line-up, Esperanza is a woman in a mission to meet a promise she made 2 years ago and beating Ateneo in their Round 1 match-up will be a start. 

The Batangas native was remembered assuring her tearful team captain Aby Marano on television that they will reclaim the crown after thrice-to-beat La Salle was shocked by Ateneo in the winner-take-all Game 4 in Season 76.

Despite the tough road ahead, Esperanza is hopeful they can manage to pull it off this year.

“Early to tell, di pa tapos yung 1st round. Madedefine siguro yung takbo ng team namin kapag nalampasan yung 1st round and 2nd round and probably to the semis hopefully and yun sana tuloy tuloy na,” she shared.

If she will see minutes on the Finals rematch, Esperanza is leaving it all to head coach Ramil De Jesus.

“I think coach (De Jesus) never naman nagkulang ng pagsabi sa akin na ‘always be ready,’ so yun I’m always ready naman whatever happens,” she said. “That’s up to him. Tiwala naman ako sa diskarte niya.”

“Support pa rin sa team, kahit naman nasa labas lang ang dami ko pa naman pwedeng gawin para suportahan yung team tsaka mapakita na may role pa rin ako sa team,” said Esperanza. — By Jason Mercene