ATENEO-Motolite played its best game as a sign of respect to former teammate Alyssa Valdez and Creamline in their Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference showdown that went five sets on Sunday at the Batangas Sports Coliseum.
Kat Tolentino, Bea De Leon, and Maddie Madayag showed the way for the Lady Eagles in the match against former teammate Valdez, whose 32 points couldn't save the Cool Smashers from dropping a 25-18, 25-20, 15-25, 23-25, 15-12 defeat.
De Leon said that they never wavered in facing arguably the greatest Lady Eagle, who delivered the first two volleyball crowns to their school.
“When we get on court, even playing field eh. Coach will always tell us, ‘Wag kayong mangilala.’ Kasi siyempre we already know how Ate Ly is. She’s really, really great in her own right,” said De Leon, who scattered eight kills, five service aces, and a pair of blocks for 15 points.
“So yun nga, pagdating namin sa court sa amin kailangan mong isipin na, ‘Kaya namin ito. Kahit si Ate Ly yan kaya namin ‘to.’ Not in a ‘di wala yan,’” she added.
And it was even their main motivation in winning the game.
“Pero siyempre yung respect namin sa kanya yun yung pinakanagmo-motivate sa amin na sige kaya din namin ‘yan,” she added.
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro agreed that they have to respect the three-time UAAP MVP Valdez as well as other top volleyball players in the country like Michele Gumabao, Jia Morado, Jema Galanza, and libero Melissa Gohing.
“That’s what I’m telling my players you have to respect them, it’s because they’re the one of the greatest players here in the Philippines,” Almadro said. “National players, alam naman namin kung ano yung kaya nilang ibigay basta importante lang tama yung gagawin, buo ang loob, tsaka faith kay Lord you will never go wrong.”
Madayag, who chipped in nine hits, said she reminded her teammates to focus on their own game and team despite facing former coach Tai Bundit and teammates Valdez and Jia Morado.
“First of all, hindi namin iniisip na magkakilala kami inside the court (nina Alyssa at Jia). Sportsmanlike lahat so walang malice, walang ganyan kasi nga team namin, team nila,” Madayag said. “Saka I always reminded them na gawin lang namin ng tama, play the right way, relax lang wag kaming mainip.”
“I was reminding everyone don’t mind the crowd, mind your teammates, listen to your teammates don’t listen to the crowd."
Lady Eagles leading scorer Tolentino also provided the clutch hits of her 22-point outing in the fifth set, saying they didn’t want to waste their chance to win over the Reinforced Conference champions even after they squandered a 2-0 set lead and went down in the deciding set, 10-12.
“We’re happy na nakalaban namin ‘yung mga ate nila. We are learning, we learn from them. So that’s the main our purpose of this tournament, it’s not to win games but to learn,” Almadro said.
“If it’s a fluke, it’s ok for us, if it’s tsamba we’ll take it. What’s important is natututo kami sa kanila,” he added.