It is common knowledge that La Salle’s talent pool is one of the deepest in the women’s volleyball division.
With a rich winning tradition in the UAAP, La Salle has been one of the top choices of young hopefuls who want to somehow make a dent in the PH scene.
Which is why it did not come as a surprise when NCAA standout Lourdes Clemente told FOX Sports that she almost joined the Ramil de Jesus-led squad prior to the kick off of Season 78.
“Nag tryout po ako sa La Salle. Pinapunta po ako ni Kianna (Dy). Pinapunta niya po ako,” she said. “Nung time na ‘yun po kasi ‘yung coach po namin sa Perpetual, umalis po. Dapat po talaga lilipat na ako sa La Salle.”
On why she got interested in joining the champion team’s fold, she adds: “Hindi naman sa porke sikat ‘yung school kasi given na po ‘yun. Ang pinaka-gusto ko po dun is ‘yung pag-aaral. And ang dami ko po kasing friends na nag-aaral dun so na-engganyo po ako mag-aral dun.”
Had her plans of moving to Taft pushed through, it will not be a first for Clemente as she has already been a part of other powerhouse squads like NU and Benilde.
What made her stay with Perpetual? She says it’s about the Lady Altas’s management talking some sense into her.
“‘Yung papers ko po na-hold. Hindi rin po ako pinayagan ng school na lumipat kasi nga daw po bakit pa daw ako lilipat kung nandito na daw ako. Bakit nga daw po ako palipat-lipat ng school?” recalled the middle blocker.
“Naisip ko rin po na sana nung UAAP naka-lineup na ako at nakapaglaro na for La Salle pero okay lang naman,” she added, talking about regrets. “Worth it din naman kasi ‘yung Perpetual naging mabuti naman po sa akin. Tsaka naisip ko na kung lilipat na naman ako ng school another na pakikisama na naman. Kaya stay na lang.”
On Thursday, Clemente got a chance to play against her could-have-been teammates when her club team Amy’s Kitchen battled F2 Logistics, a squad bannered by the past and current stars of La Salle.
Though Amy’s yielded in 3 sets, the former teammate of Jaja Santiago back in high school takes pride in giving the Cargo Movers a good fight especially in the last frame which they extended to 23-25.
“Nice game kasi unexpected na nakadikit kami ng ganun sa champion team. Pang fourth kami sa NCAA eh. Hindi namin naisip na ‘yung champion team ng UAAP makakalapit kami,” she shared. “Na-build namin ‘yung character namin na La Salle nga kaya namin. Gusto namin. Maglalaro kami. Bibigyan namin ng magandang game.”
Heading into Season 92 of the NCAA, the experience that Clemente and the rest of her teammates will get from battling the best of the best will prove vital as they aim for a podium finish in the collegiate level.
“Sobrang laki po ng tulong nito kasi parang nagbi-build po ‘yung character ng bawat isa sa amin. Lumalakas ‘yung loob namin at ang dami naming natututunan,” said Clemente.
“Hindi namin iniisip na veterans at magagaling ang kalaban. Ang iniisip po namin pare-parehas kaming players na napapagod at nagte-training. Bilog ang bola kaya kung ano ‘yung ginagawa nila, aabutin din namin,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio