MICHELLE Morente was mighty proud after Ateneo battled back from a set down to beat Far Eastern University on Sunday, saying it's a sign of maturity for a team still trying to find its identity in the post-Alyssa Valdez era.
“Happy kami kasi even though we were down, we pushed ourselves and didn't give up," said Morente after the 25-19, 24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 15-11 win over the Lady Tamaraws - the second in three games for Ateneo in the UAAP Season 79 women's volleyball tournament.
"FEU is a tough opponent talaga. We still really push ourselves kasi kami din naman 'yung mahihirapan kung hindi namin aayusin 'yung training," she added.
Morente, 22, sparkled on both offense and defense, firing from all angles for 12 kills to go two blocks and three service aces. She also had libero-like numbers in terms of digs (14) and receptions (12).
But the fourth-year outside hitter was quick to deflect the credit, saying that it was setter Jia Morado who made it possible for her to put up such impressive stats line.
“For now it was good, sa 17 points ko, (but) I give Jia the credit kasi she really played great today kahit may sakit siya (stomach ache), she still pushed herself to do her best,” said Morente.
Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses, who called the shots with head coach Tai Bundit is in Thailand for his mother-in-law’s wake, said it's good to see players like Morente step up now that the Lady Eagles are in search of a new go-to player.
“Syempre bago ‘yung team walang Alyssa, talagang mahirap mag adjust pag ganun,” said Meneses. “Sa nakikita ko ngayon, nag-iimprove na ng sobra ang pesonality nila kahit wala si Alyssa (at) ‘yun ang hanap ni Coach Tai, balanced na team na lahat pumupuntos.”