BALIWAG, Bulacan — ‘I feel old.’
Creamline star Alyssa Valdez let out a laugh when asked on how she felt facing her former Ateneo team in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference at the Baliwag Star Arena on Sunday night.
The Cool Smashers finished off the match in straight sets, 25-23, 25-17, 25-14, behind Valdez’s 19 points, all from attacks, and 11 digs.
It was her first time playing against the Motolite-backed Lady Eagles in a competitive match after graduating three years ago.
“I feel old!” said Valdez, drawing laughter from a handful of reporters inside their locker room.
From the Lady Eagles' current lineup, only five of the 14 players were around when Valdez was still the biggest star in the Katipunan campus.
Team captain Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, Deanna Wong, Ponggay Gaston, Kim Gequillana saw action in the UAAP with her, while Kat Tolentino, who was supposed to debut in Season 78, did not play during Valdez’s final season in the UAAP due to an ACL injury she sustained during warm-up before a Shakey’s V-League game.
Turning serious, Valdez revealed she felt pressure to live up to people’s expectations while trying her best to be an inspiration to the new batch of Lady Eagles.
“Well, nakaka-pressure din in a way kasi you have to live na sa mga pressure and sa mga expectations ng mga tao,” she said. “Pero that pressure kasi would make you push yourself pa and nai-inspire ka rin sa mga bata.”
Although Creamline won in straight sets, Valdez pointed out the game wasn't an accurate gauge of Ateneo-Motolite’s potential considering the absence of Tolentino, Madayag and Ponggay Gaston, who missed the game due to a school activity.
Creamline also wasn't in full force as Risa Sato was in the University Games Dumaguete with National University, Pau Soriano is resting her knee after surgery, and Michele Gumabao is in Albania for the Miss Globe 2018 pageant.
“I’m just really proud of them,” said Valdez. “Siguro naninibago lang sila na syempre ngayon lang din naglaro ‘yung iba eh, so it was a good experience for them.”
Creamline and Ateneo-Motolite will have a rematch on Sunday in the second round of eliminations and Valdez is looking forward to it.
“The real battle will be on Sunday ‘cause everyone’s gonna be there,” she said.