ATENEO star Alyssa Valdez heaved a heavy sigh of relief after the Lady Eagles dispatched National University, 26-24, 25-17, 25-19, and snapped a two-game skid to reclaim the lead in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
But aside from Ateneo rediscovering its dominant form, Valdez was also elated about the performance of third-year spiker Kim Gequillana, who scored nine points with four aces and seven digs against the Lady Bulldogs.
“Si Kim? Oh, yehey!” exclaimed Valdez while throwing her hands up during the post-game interview.
The two-time reigning MVP said she has seen how Gequillana, who came off the bench and helped her team survive a tight first set, 26-24, earned the trust of Ateneo's coaching staff through her hardwork in practices.
“Lahat naman kasi binibigyan ng opportunity ni coach (Tai Bundit) during practice, so sobrang proud talaga kami kay Kim na lahat ng hard work niya it pays off talaga. Sana magtuluy-tuloy pa and si Kim [kasi] maaasahan mo talaga s‘ya no matter what happens. [So] I’m really happy [for her],” she said.
“Super cute ni Kim, parang hindi niya alam na naka point pala siya,” she said.
The soft-spoken Gequillana, though, took the praise humbly and instead thanked her coach for trusting her ability to help the team.
“Of course happy ako kasi naka-contribute ako sa team,” she said. “Every game naman in-expect ko na papapasukin ako ni coach Tai kasi lagi nilang sinasabi na mag-warm up ako kahit nasa sideline lang, parang be ready just in case may mangyari, ayun.”