Valdez cherishes heartstrong Lady Eagles' reunion game
Iba talaga ‘yung feeling when you play kasama ‘yung mga dati mong teammates -- Alyssa Valdez
Alysa Valdez enjoyed every minute of sharing the court with her former Ateneo de Manila University teammates Sunday in the Battle of the Rivals.
It was extra sweeter when in front of a packed crowd inside the Mall of Asia Arena, she pounded the match-clinching off the block kill as the Lady Eagles defeated archrival De La Salle University, 17-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13, in the fund-raising event for the benefit of the two proud schools’ athletic scholarship program.
Valdez scored 36 points in an inspired performance she highlighted with 32 attacks, three aces and a kill block.
“Iba talaga ‘yung feeling when you play kasama ‘yung mga dati mong teammates,” said Valdez, who played side by side with the core of Ateneo’s back-to-back UAAP champion team.
It was a classic game that got true-blue Ateneo-DLSU rivalry supporters up on their feet cheering with every spike, kill block, amazing plays and defensive gems displayed by each side.
For three-time UAAP Most Valuable Player Valdez, the atmosphere brought back the memories of playing collegiate volleyball with the Lady Eagles.
A reunion of the Ateneo championship core that brought the UAAP Season 76 and 77 titles to Katipunan.
From Denden Lazaro’s perfect dig, to Jia Morado’s heady plays, Bea De Leon and Amy Ahomiro protecting the net like their lives depended on it to Valdez and Ella De Jesus’ jaw-dropping kills, it was the Lady Eagles that reigned supreme in the UAAP for two seasons.
“It’s been a while since we played together as a team. Ito yata ‘yung core ng Seasons 76 and 77 and we’re really just happy,” said Valdez. “Nag-enjoy kami tapos nakatulong pa so masarap talaga sa pakiramdam.”
It was also the first time for Valdez to play in the same arena that saw her drop 34 points to force Game 3 in the UAAP Season 78 Finals showdown against the Lady Spikers a year ago in her final playing year when the Lady Eagles were dethroned by DLSU.
Ateneo went down, 0-2, in the match but recovered just in time to force a decider and treat the fans that filled the arena with an epic contest.
The heartstrong mantra and happy play prevailed with Valdez leading the way.
“You can’t really explain, kami, we can’t really explain. ‘Pag tumingin ka sa likod, naka-smile lang. Pag tumingin ka sa harap, naka-smile lang,” she said. “Pag nag-error, it doesn’t matter, we just play because we really enjoy the game. Heartstrong, pag ‘di pa tapos, ‘di pa tapos (ang laban).”
The Battle of the Rivals will air on July 22 at 6:00 p.m. on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23 and ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166.
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