PETRON playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan is not just a Most Valuable Player on the court but also off the court as a leader of the Blaze Spikers.
Behind their successful golden repeat in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference beating F2 Logistics with a rousing 25-22, 26-24, 25-23 victory in a do-or die Finals Game 3 on Thursday was Dimaculangan's steady play. The veteran setter dished out 31 excellent sets on top of three points — highlighted by a brilliant 1-2 play that put the Blaze Spikers at championship point, 24-22, in the third set.
But the newly crowned All-Filipino Conference MVP also motivated her teammates in an all-important Game Three after coming off a heartbreaking loss in Game Two last Tuesday that ended their 13-winning streak and put their title hopes in trouble.
Prior to the championship game, Dimaculangan texted each one of her teammates to be brave and don’t doubt themselves.
“Sabi ko lang sa kanila na wag matakot kasi once na natakot sila, magdadoubt na sila sa lahat ng gagawin nila and (ilabas nila) yung tiwala nila sa sarili nila,” the veteran playmaker said. “Actually minessage ko talaga sila isa-isa na malaki yung tiwala ko sa kanila and kaya namin lumaban yung game kanina.”
And the Blaze Spikers heeded her call converting each smart plays of Dimaculangan, who is dedicating the MVP plum to all of her teammates.
“Itong award na ito para sa aming lahat ito lahat kasi kami naghirap, nagsacrifice. Para sa kanila ito,” said the second setter to win the MVP to Tina Salak in Generika-Army’s All-Filipino title run in 2014.
“Sobrang saya talaga hindi ko naman kasi ito magagawa kung hindi kami nagtulong tulong kumbaga hindi ko ito magagawa kung hindi iisa yung goal namin,” added the former UAAP Season 72 Finals MVP of UST. “Siyempre, family kami kaya through ups and downs magkakasama kami.”
Even if Petron head coach Shaq Delos Santos would choose the MVP, he will crown it to Dimaculangan, who has been consistent all conference long.
“Kasi based doon sa noong nag-opening ang conference hanggang kanina, naging consistent talaga siya doon sa setting niya,” Delos Santos said. “Pinaghirapan niya kasi sa training 'yun. Kumbaga, lahat ng effort, ginawa niya. Nag-sacrifice, totoo 'yun.”
“Ako sobrang proud kasi alam natin 'yung quality ni Rhea, kung paano mag-laro and tahimik lang 'yan pero pag naglaro, 'yun na lang ang ipapakita niya kung gaano siya katindi mag-laro,” he added.
Dimaculangan was flattered of what Delos Santos said to her as she expressed her gratitude to his coach since playing in the UST back in her UAAP days.
“Thankful ako kay coach kasi parang nafeel ko yung tiwala niya sa akin all through out the season kumbaga diskarte mo yan ikaw bahala,” Dimaculangan said.