THE weight of expectations was simply too heavy for Dindin Santiago.
On the same day she was named the youngest MVP in Shakey’s V-League history, the National University star floundered as the Lady Bulldogs were dealt a three-set beating by the Ateneo Lady Eagles in Game One of the Finals on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 6-foot-2 Lady Bulldogs star, who was also adjudged Best Scorer of the First Conference of Season 10, wound up with just seven points as she admitted losing focus after winning the league's highest individual honor.
“Nawala po ako sa focus,” said the 19-year-old Santiago, who is no stranger to the Finals atmosphere, having won two titles with University of Santo Tomas as a role player before transferring to NU. “Siguro pressured ako ngayon kasi nga kailangan ko dalhin yung team ko.”
Santiago said inexperience also did the Lady Bulldogs in.
“Hindi naman (kami naging overconfident). Siguro lang sadyang hindi namin time ngayon. Siguro yung iba, first time mag-finals so na-rattle sila at na-pressure kaya lahat kami naninigas sa loob ng court,” she said.
Santiago said the first step for them to be able to bounce back in Game Two on Sunday and force a deciding game of the best-of-three series, is to set aside her individual accolade and buckle down to work.
“Ngayon, kailangan ko burahin sa sarili ko na MVP ako,” the Tanza, Cavite native said. “Kailangan ko mag-focus. Kailangan mag-go hard, at kailangan paghandaan sila.”
“Yung two days na natitira para sa training namin, bibigay ko na lahat ng best ko para manalo kami.”