DE La Salle rookie sensation Jolina Dela Cruz regrets blowing a chance to wrap up twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four of UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
“Andun na po eh, malapit na po kami, parang nadulas pa kami. Kumbaga sa stairs, papunta ka na sa (taas) nadulas ka pa,” said Dela Cruz after the Lady Spikers suffered a five-set loss at the hands of Far Eastern University.
Dela Cruz led La Salle with 15 spikes, six service aces and a block for 22 points, but the defending champions blew a two-sets-to-one lead as the Lady Tamaraws embraced the role of spoilers on Sunday at the Arena in San Juan City.
The loss pulled La Salle down to a share of second place with University of Santo Tomas on 10-4 win-loss records at the end of the eliminations, necessitating a playoff on Wednesday for the No. 2 seed and twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus chided his seniors for relying on Dela Cruz to save the day for the team.
“Ang nangyayari kasi parang si Jolina yung nagbubuhat ng team. Sabi ko sa kanila, di naman pwedeng lahat ng burden bibigay natin sa kanya,” De Jesus said. “Team effort kailangan. Kailangan kung may nag-spark na ganyan, sunod na lang yung iba.”
“Marami namang malaking bagay na pwedeng itulong sa team para di na pumuntos. Mag-dig ka, mag-serve ka, dumepensa ka dyan, rumiceive ka, mag-block ka, marami,” he added.
The recruit from Academia de San Lorenzo in Bulacan played down her big numbers, saying she often asked for the ball from setter Michelle Cobb .
“Naglaro lang po ako. Hinihingi ko rin po kasi kay Ate Cobbie if ever na wala nang mabigyan, ibato na sa 'kin,” Dela Cruz said. “Siguro po gusto ko lang din manalo.”
Dela Cruz knows that a veritable best-of-three semifinal showdown against a Tigresses side led by fellow rookie sensation Eya Laure won't be easy, but she's confident La Salle's big fighting heart will shine through.
“Siyempre po, La Salle po eh,” Dela Cruz said.