THE best is yet to come for the Lady Eagles.
That from former Ateneo star Gretchen Ho, who said she sees a bright future for a team that completed a Cinderella run by overcoming a thrice-to-beat disadvantage in dethroning three-time champion De La Salle Lady Spikers in the last UAAP Finals.
“I think they’re in for the big time. I can never be happier for my school,” Ho, a former member of Ateneo’s famed 'Fab Five,' told Spin.ph.
After winning Ateneo's first-ever women's volleyball championship with a rookie-laden team that hardly got the attention of pundits at the start of the season, Ho said the Lady Eagles are only bound to become better in the coming years.
With the team led by Alyssa Valdez set to be intact for next season and the rookies maturing, the best is yet to come for the newly crowned champions, Ho added.
“I think next year they’ll be a stronger team, because the lineup will be intact, key players will still be there, and no one’s graduating,” the charming spiker said.
Ho said she was proud to see the Lady Eagles pull off what her batch failed to do the two previous seasons against their bitter rivals Lady Spikers.
She was just as impressed with the rookies, led by Michele Morente.
“Ibang klase sila. Ang tatapang ng rookies nila. Sobrang galing. Composed sila sa court eh. Usually rookies kinakabahan dapat di ba? Pero sila all out eh,” noted Ho.
“Last year, we felt short of winning the championship. Now, they won the title against the same team with no one expecting (them to win). They’ve proven everyone wrong,” she added.
The former Ateneo star also was full of praise for Anusorn 'Tai' Bundit, the good-natured coach from Thailand who she said brought the best out of the Lady Eagles.
“Bilib ako kay coach Tai. Nahugot niya 'yung talent ng girls at na-prepare niya mentally,” said Ho, who is now making a name for herself as a sports show host.
“Coach Tai really did a good job of putting together the players and giving each of them the needed confidence.”
As for her own career, Ho expects to see action for Petron in the coming Philippine Super Liga as she recovers from an old shoulder injury that has sidelined her for more than a month now.
“Galing pa sa Ateneo days ko ito. Nabugbog ito masyado nung Season 74 and 75 ng UAAP," she said. "Nag-therapy ako, hindi gumagaling. Sa MRI nakita na may tear.”
“Siguro three more weeks bago gumaling ... Hopefully, I’ll come back stronger. I promise to show the better Gretchen Ho when I return.’