Without the offensive prowess of Bernadeth Pons, FEU’s attempt at upsetting defending champion Ateneo was nothing short of a tough hill to climb.
Though the Lady Tamaraws gallantly fought and pushed the opponents, their hopes were eventually crushed out of them as the Lady Eagles dominated in attacking with 41.58 % success rate as opposed to their measly 28 %.
After sitting out the entire match against UE, Pons made a return for the Morayta squad but only for defensive purposes at the backline.
This, according to her, is to prevent aggravating the minor back injury she has suffered from in training.
“Malungkot ako kasi gustong gusto ko makatulong pero hindi talaga pwede pwersahin,” she told FOX Sports.
Apparently, the advice of the entire FEU coaching staff was for her to miss Wednesday’s battle but she insisted on doing the least she can do to help out her teammates.
On pushing to get some playing time, the outside hitter says, “Kahit sa depensa lang tsaka sa service, makatulong man lang ako.”
“Pag nandun lang ako sa labas, helpless talaga,” she added. “Kaya ko naman kasi maglaro pero hindi na lang ipinilit sa spiking kasi baka lumala pa. Kaya sabi ko, sa likod lang, tutulong ako.”
In her stead, Toni Rose Basas and Jerrili Malabanan have stepped up big time for the winningest team in the women’s division but Pons remains to be one of the team’s biggest asset for their 2016 campaign.
Shunning the thought of how vital she is to the FEU equation, Pons said she believes her squad is capable of pulling off wins even without her inside the court.
“Kahit naman wala ako, kaya naman talaga nila,” she assured. “Naunahan lang sila tapos kinulang lang. Kulang pa talaga eh. Tapos ‘yung mga rookies namin kabado pa.”
The all important question, however, is whether or not the star spiker will be seeing action on Saturday when FEU faces rival UST at the FilOil Flying V Arena.
“Maglalaro na ako sa Saturday,” she said with a wide grin.
“Sabi nga sa amin nila coach ‘yung mga talo sa La Salle tsaka sa Ateneo kalimutan na namin ‘yun. Bawian na lang namin sa second round,” she added. “Pero ‘yung mga remaining games namin, dapat ilaban talaga namin.”
“By Saturday, sana better FEU na.” — By Mac Dionisio