Ateneo was cruising after a big first set and was on pace to complete a UAAP women’s volleyball 3-peat.
Until La Salle made its move and the Lady Eagles didn’t know what hit them.
“I don’t know what happened. They won. They were so big in the blocks. They were just dominating over us and everything. We tried to come back at times, but it was always kulang. It was never enough,” admitted Ateneo senior Amy Ahomiro.
The Lady Eagles looked lost and played flat, especially in the third set, where the Lady Spikers bulldozed past them and even built a 17-5 advantage.
Ahomiro and her Ateneo teammates were unable to give the tired Alyssa Valdez a lift, as the 3-time MVP was visibly fatigued when La Salle was rampaging in the final frame.
“I guess there’s always a team that wants it more. I guess today they wanted it more,” she added. “They deserve it naman. They played great. All of them played great.”
The New Zealand native was virtually a non-factor in her last UAAP game, scoring a solitary point and being unable to contribute on both ends when Valdez needed help.
“I think I had the worst game of the season personally,” she said. “Alyssa tried to carry us with her 31 points, but I think to win a championship, everyone needs to contribute. It needs to be a team effort. Like I said, I don’t think I gave my best but others did.”
“I think I was frustrated. Alyssa and Jia (Morado) played well. Bea (de Leon) played well. It just wasn’t enough,” she added.
Making matters worse for Ateneo was La Salle’s superb blocking, especially in the third set, when they repeatedly swatted away multiple attempts by Valdez.
Majoy Baron and Mika Reyes combined for 8 of the Lady Spikers’ blocks, intimidating the Lady Eagles’ attackers by parrying shot after shot.
“They’re so big at the net. When you just keep on getting blocked and blocked, it’s discouraging talaga,” she said. “We tried to fight back, but they were just too big at the blocks. They were just playing really great defense. Their libero was awesome. Everything was just working for them talaga and everything wasn’t working for us. They deserve it naman.”
Ahomiro admits it was a crushing loss. Nonetheless, she doesn’t want it to define her UAAP career, where she won 2 championships in 3 years.
“It was great naman. I’m super thankful for the opportunity that’s been given to me,” said the Season 77 Finals MVP. “This loss doesn’t define us, me as an individual or Ateneo as a team.”
“It’s just today that La Salle was a better team and today was a championship game. So next year na lang. They’ll make bawi,” she added. “It’s an honor to wear an Ateneo jersey, so I just would like to thank everyone.”
“I just want to say that La Salle played great talaga. It was an honor to play against a team like that and today they were just a better team. I think we’re still champions naman. They’re just the ones with a gold medal,” she closed. — By Joyce Palad