If Ara Galang played in Season 77 FinalsSeptember 05, 2017
In Season 77, De La Salle found itself in a difficult position in its Finals series against archrival Ateneo de Manila without the Lady Spikers’ ace Ara Galang.
The Lady Eagles behind Alyssa Valdez, libero Denden Lazaro and Ella De Jesus swept the two-round eliminations to advance in the championship round with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
The Lady Spikers on the other hand had to go through a tough stepladder semifinals.
DLSU, which then had a twice-to-beat incentive, lost in the first game against the National University Lady Bulldogs. The Lady Spikers recovered in the winner-take-all match to advance in the Finals but with a steep price.
The Taft-based squad lost Galang to a left knee injury (anterior cruciate ligament tear, a big bone bruise, a medial collateral ligament (MCL) tear and a medial meniscus tear) that ended her season. Without their scoring leader, DLSU was thrown into the Eagles’ nest unarmed and the result was an embarrassing defeat for the former UAAP women’s volleyball powerhouse.
But what if Galang landed squarely instead of her awkward left foot landing that caused her knee to buckle after scoring an attack against the Lady Bulldogs and went on to face Valdez and the Lady Eagles?
Looking at the statistics, Galang’s presence could’ve given a ton of difference for DLSU.
The Season 74 Rookie of the Year winner was running third in the Most Valuable Player race – eventually won by Valdez – with a scoring average of 17 points per outing.
Galang in that season was a do-it-all player, putting up numbers in different scoring and defensive categories.
She was fifth in spiking (32.87% success rate), seventh in blocking (0.46 per set), third in service aces (0.52 average per frame) and played a good role on defense with 1.96 digs per set and 21.15% efficiency in reception.
Against the Lady Eagles in the eliminations, Galang averaged 15.5 points in a losing effort.
DLSU absorbed a tough 22-25, 27-25, 25-16, 14-25, 9-15 loss in the first round against Ateneo with Galang coming up with 11 points from eight attacks and three aces with 12 perfect receptions for the Lady Spikers.
In the second round, Galang was on fire with 20 markers with 17 off attacks. She had eight digs and seven good receives for an all-around performance.
However, her performance was not enough to prevent Ateneo from clinching the outright Finals berth and thrice-to-beat advantage as DLSU again bowed down to the Lady Eagles, 20-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-27.
In the step-ladder semifinals, Galang’s game stepped up a notch as she averaged 19.5 points.
Then her injury happened.
What if Ara Galang played in Season 77 Finals?
Ateneo de Manila would have surely gotten a handful in the Finals series with Galang heating up. She could've given DLSU a huge morale boost with her leadership.
In both games during the championship round, Ateneo swept La Salle in three sets.
Galang's presence would have likely prevented the Lady Spikers from being swept by the Lady Eagles in each game. Perhaps the Taft-based squad would have even snagged a game and denied Ateneo an 16-game sweep.
But with a thrice-to-beat advantage, Valdez playing on a different level and with the determined veteran duo of libero Denden Lazaro and Ella de Jesus - the outcome would have still been the same.