CREAMLINE superstar Alyssa Valdez was impressed with how this batch of Ateneo Lady Eagles has improved, evidenced by their thrilling showdown in the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference.
Valdez saw her 32-point explosion in her hometown game and Creamline’s six-game winning streak get spoiled as Ateneo-Motolite hung tight and escaped with a 25-18, 25-20, 15-25, 23-25, 15-12 win on Sunday at the Batangas Coliseum.
The three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player, who brought two maiden volleyball titles to Ateneo, was gracious in defeat and praised the Lady Eagles.
“They’re really good, very strong team,” said Valdez attributing the strong blocking — highlighted by the game-winning block of Ateneo rookie Vannie Gandler on her — and the vastly improved floor defense.
“Siguro not only sa blocking but they had good floor defense and good receives and also first balls that’s why they can set-up their plays and medyo syempre kami medyo smaller na kalaban medyo nahirapan kami tapatan sila sa net. Maganda rin talaga yung nilaro nila so we have to give it to them this win," she added.
Valdez, who also had a great defensive effort with 23 excellent receptions in 28 attempts, was honored that the young Lady Eagles learned from them, while also insisting that the Cool Smashers learned from the sorry loss.
“I think as veterans, kung maglalaro kami against them we want to give our one hundred percent also so they can learn from us,” the four-time PVL MVP said.
“Definitely we’re learning from them naman kasi siyempre tumatanda din kami we have to fight against teams like these para mabalik sa amin yung eagerness and fighting spirit na we have to give our one hundred and one percent every game," she added.
The star open hitter said that their slow start, 37 errors, and breaks of the game factored in the loss, but she believes that her team still needs to improve on their chemistry as they have yet to play and train as a complete unit.
“It’s more of I think we know it’s also madami kaming —not naman pagkukulang — we really have to train together yun lang naman,” said Valdez, whose teammate Michele Gumabao just returned to action in their previous loss after the Miss Globe 2018 pageant.
Despite losing their first game after six wins in a row and dropping to joint-second place with a 6-2 win-loss record, Valdez stays optimistic for the remainder of the season as Creamline will finally play with a complete lineup after the Halloween break with Risa Sato coming back from the recently concluded UniGames.
“Sa conference na ‘to, it’s more about getting more wins talaga. It’s sad, unfortunately, we lost but more games to come and we have to focus in getting more wins para makapasok kami ng Final Four,” she said as Sato rejoins Gumabao, Jia Morado, Jema Galanza, Pau Soriano, and Melissa Gohing.
“Ngayon kasi yung goal is really to reach the Final Four. Iba pa naman yung laro ng lahat ng teams pagdating ng semifinals," she added.
The Cool Smashers try to bounce back against the Tacloban Fighting Warays on November 7 at the Arena in San Juan City.