AFTER missing their last game due to acute gastroenteritis, setter Ayel Estrañero made sure to help University of the Philippines recover from a loss and pull off a stunner on defending champion De La Salle in their thrilling UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament showdown on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Missing the Lady Maroons' four-set defeat to UST last week, Estrañero, impressively, returned to action by steering her team to a 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12 victory that ended the Lady Spikers’ three-game unbeaten run and 14-game winning streak dating back from last season.
The graduating setter delivered the brilliant plays for her spikers bannered by Isa Molde and Tots Carlos dishing out 38 excellent sets and also having four points.
But it’s not only because of her eagerness to help the team recover from a loss, it was their goal to prove that UP could win it all this year.
“Not only because I missed the last game but siguro there’s more motivation because it’s my last playing year and siyempre nandoon ‘yung goal para mag-final four and magchampion,” Estrañero said. “So every game is really important, so every game sobrang motivated namin, hindi lang ako pero the entire the team na hopefully, mareach namin ‘yung goal namin.”
The 5-foot-5 playmaker believes that their eagerness to beat a champion team like La Salle gave them extra motivation to beat the Lady Spikers for the first time since Season 79 under former coach Jerry Yee with ex-stars Nicole Tiamzon, Kathy Bersola and Pia Gaiser.
“It was a tough fight between us and La Salle, kitang kita naman na lumaban din sila, but I guess we really wanted to win,” she said. “We felt like binibigay na sa amin pero kailangan talaga namin akuin ‘yung laro so eventually we got the win for today.”
Learning her lesson from an acute gastroenteritis, Estrañero vows to be more careful this time as this is her final season for UP.
“Sobra po. Kung pwede lang hindi kumain pero yeah. More careful with what I eat and what I actually do,” Estrañero said. “Siguro it’s more of a learning experience din na kailangan ko talagang alagaan sarili ko to be able to contribute.”