NEVER did it cross the minds of Bea de Leon and Maddie Madayag that Ateneo's do-or-die game Far Eastern University will be their last.
"Hindi namin sinali yun sa options," said Madayag.
De Leon added: "We didn't entertain the thought that it was our last. We knew and trusted that this [game] is for us talaga."
True enough, the Lady Eagles put the Lady Tamaraws away with a 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-14 win on Wednesday, booking a return trip to the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball finals.
Defiant as they may seem, it's just the way these two seniors are wired.
"Iba ang leadership nilang dalawa," said coach Oliver Almadro of his graduating players. "What I told them yesterday is that we just have to be one. Sayang na ilang months ko lang sila na-handle, pero yun ang nag-push sa kanila na hindi pa tayo matatapos dito. Sabi nila, 'No, di pa dito matatapos yun and we have to extend this.'"
They truly showed that hunger, with Madayag firing 12 points and De Leon adding nine markers in the sudden-death victory.
The reward for extending their careers led to Ateneo's return to the Championship series, this time against University of Santo Tomas in the best-of-three finals set on Saturday.
And what better way for the duo to cap their collegiate careers with a championship.
"Last year na rin namin, so it's nice to be here and be back in the finals," said Madayag. "Binigyan kami ng opportunity and we grabbed it."