FORMER La Salle opposite hitter Celine Hernandez praised Maddie Madayag for her top-notch defense for Ateneo de Manila that led to her breaking the former's record for most blocks in a game in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Eleven years ago, the former Lady Spiker Hernandez tallied nine blocks in a five-set loss to Adamson Lady Falcons led by Angela Benting, Janet Serafica, Risa Jane Laguilles and Lizlee Gata in Season 70.
“It was such a tiring game! The psy war pa cut across the open spikers until the liberos. Ang nasa isip ko lang was, Coach spent hours training Jack (Alarca) and I to block,” Hernandez recalled. “As in cool down na teammates namin pero tuloy tuloy lang block training namin kahit wala ng lumalabas na pawis sa amin.”
“That game, I really didn't want to let my teammates down, the school and coach. I honestly pride myself in blocking because of the hardwork we went through in training,” she added.
On Wednesday, Madayag broke the record by nailing 11 of Ateneo’s 24 rejections to help complete the come-from-behind five-set win over UST for its seventh straight win in eight games at the Arena in San Juan City.
Hernandez witnessed the five-set thriller on television and was impressed by how Madayag‘s fighting spirit lifted her team from two sets down that led to a big win and unexpectedly broke the her record in blocking
“You can see in Maddie Madayag's body language that she was giving it all she has got,” Hernandez said. “In the slow mos, you could see how she ensured an imposing umbrella against the other team's spikers. She wanted to win that game, and she ended up winning another victory as well—an exceptional record.”
The 30-year-old Hernandez is now an associate in Meralco and has been there for five years, seldom playing volleyball only in the MVP Olympics.
Hernandez, who played for La Salle in Seasons 70 and 71, promised herself that if she returns to action in a major league, she has to be in top shape.
But don’t call it a comeback as her priority right now is her life in the corporate world.
“I promised myself that if I were to try PSL and PVL again, I should make a conscious effort to be a hundred percent back in shape. It's one hundred percent or don't play for me,” said Hernandez, who last played for the De La Salle-laden Meralco in Philippine Superliga last 2016. “Right now, I'm enjoying my corporate work, so as much as I love volleyball, I would just channel my excitement in the stands or in front of the tv.”
The former player of Ramil de Jesus is rooting for her coach and the Lady Spikers to win its unprecedented four-straight UAAP championship this season 81.
“Like any other team in the UAAP, it's exciting how La Salle will progress in each game. For every game with Coach Ramil, there's always a seed to deeply plant and root in the team,” Hernandez said. “It's how much they sweat, how strong they want to protect their reign, that will determine if these seeds will bear fruit.”