ARMY coach Rico de Guzman said PLDT is not just all about Alyssa Valdez.
Lest everybody forgets, the Ultra Fast Hitters also have Jaja Santiago in their fold, who de Guzman said has been a huge key why the two teams will be meeting in a winner-take-all match Sunday for the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Open conference title at The Arena in San Juan.
Santiago had 20 points from 13 spikes, five blocks, and two service aces in PLDT’s Game Two victory over the defending champions that forged the sudden-death Game Three.
‘Naka-focus kami kay Alyssa at Jaja,” admitted de Guzman. “Mahirap, napakahirap nilang bantayan.”
“Si Jaja napalaki ng improvement sa service, pati ako nagulat,” he added. “Kailangan sa kanya three-woman block, double time talaga kami sa pag depensa sa kanila. Hindi na lang libero ang dapat dedepensa sa amin.”
The Lady Troopers foiled the Ultra Fast Hitters’ bid for a sweep of the entire conference by winning the opener of the best-of-three title series, 13-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-22, stopping in effect PLDT’s 10-game winning run.
But with Valdez and Santiago at the forefront of their campaign, the Ultra Fast Hitters came back in Game Two behind a 25-16, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16 victory.
De Guzman was quick to admit his older players were outplayed by Valdez and Co.
“Ito (PLDT) mabibilis ‘to. ‘Yun ang nakikita ko hindi kami sumasabay dun sa bilis ng mga bata sa floor defense. Doon kami natalo e,” said the Army coach.