ATENEO star Alyssa Valdez said it was the will to win, more than skill, that made the difference in Game One of their best-of-three UAAP women’s volleyball title series against De La Salle.
“Siguro, it’s not just the skill, it’s the heart to win,” said Valdez, still managing a smile after the Lady Eagles blew a two-set lead on the way to a 20-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-6 loss to the Lady Spikers on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The deceptively powerful spiker was moved from the outside to center spiker in a ploy by Roger Gorayeb that worked wonders early on as Ateneo took the first two sets and continued to dominate in the third.
“Sabi naman ni coach, kahit ano na pinapagawa niya, for the good of the team," Valdez said. "Hindi naman ako nahirapan sa pag-adjust dahil tinutulungan din naman ako ng mga teammates ko."
Valdez finished with a team-high 17 points, but she, too, could no longer turn the tide the moment the defending champion Lady Spikers seized the momentum in the third set.
“’Yun lang siguro ang kulang (heart),” Valdez said. "Maybe next game, ’yun ang ipapakita namin."
Fellow veteran Dzi Gervacio admitted the Lady Eagles lost focus after getting the two-set lead.
“Siguro nakita ni coach na we were kinda surprised na kinaya namin yung La Salle,” Gervacio said. “But then, kinapos siguro dahil nawala kami sa focus nung third set.”