BEA de Leon stood defiant after Ateneo's 25-21, 27-29, 22-25, 20-25 to La Salle in Game One of the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball finals on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
De Leon stood tall for the Lady Eagles with 14 points, but it wasn't enough to save her team from losing for the first time in three games against the Lady Spikers this season.
After winning the first set and taking an early lead in the second, the tide began to turn as soon as Kim Fajardo started raining down service aces on the Lady Eagles.
That proved to be the turning point of the match, but de Leon remained undaunted.
"It's not the worst possible time. We didn't lose the championship. The mantra of this team is heart strong and we'll live up to that name," de Leon said.
"It's not over, it's Game One, it's best-of-three. On Saturday we'll meet again and we'll get there," she promised.
De Leon blamed the loss on poor defense, particularly their reception which caused the Lady Eagles a lot of problems from the second set onwards.
With poor reception came poor set-ups resulting in less attacking opportunities.
"The defense was a bit shaky. If you guys would notice, I actually didn't get a lot of sets also," de Leon continued. "Defense in totality for us was low today, hence the lesser outcome in attack."
Still, de Leon said it's not the time to point fingers as she rallied her squad for a huge bounce-back game come Game Two on Saturday.
"More than anything, I think my teammates did well. It's just the minor details that we have to work on," she said.. "In totality, it wasn't the worst game we played. We'll bounce back for sure."