INJURED star player Ara Galang showed up in complete uniform and sat on the La Salle bench during the opener of the highly-anticipated UAAP women’s volleyball finals between the Lady Spikers and the defending champion Ateneo Lady Eagles.
Galang was in La Salle’s customary green and white shorts and playing jacket as she walked to the Smart Araneta Coliseum floor in crutches, her injured left knee heavily protected.
She gamely smiled for photographers when the television camera focused on her as the rest of the Lady Spikers warmed up at centercourt.
La Salle players also showed up wearing warm-up shirts bearing Galang's name to show support for their devastated leader.
La Salle athletic director Nonong Calanog said the presence of Galang alone during the game would be a perfect rallying point for the embattled Lady Spikers, who need to beat the Lady Eagles thrice in order to reclaim the title they lost to the same team last season.
“Even if she don’t play, her presence will be a strong rallying point for the team,” he said. “Her being there will motivate the girls.”
Galang is La Salle’s best scorer and best defensive player prior to suffering an ACL and MCL injury during the Lady Spikers’ do-or-die game against National University Lady Bulldogs for the right to meet Ateneo in the finals.
Galang, who averaged 17.31 points and 6.81 digs this season, suffered tears on her ACL and MCL as well as damage to her medial meniscus and knee bone late in the Lady Spikers' win over the NU Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday.
She has yet to undergo surgery since doctors are waiting for the swelling in her knee to go down.