Playing in her final tour of duty for the blue and white, Alyssa Valdez is focused on leaving a winning legacy for three-peat seeking Ateneo de Manila.
The reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player is doing just that and her consistent play carried the Lady Eagles on top of the standing early in the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Valdez, playing in her fifth and final year, averaged 20.5 points in Ateneo’s triumphs against National University and University of Sto. Tomas in the opening week of the much-anticipated second semester event of the country’s premier collegiate league.
Her production both on offense and defense and leadership inside the court for the Katipunan-based squad missing the services of libero Denden Lazaro and Ella De Jesus after graduating last year and Michelle Morente (academics), earned her the distinction as ABS-CBN Sports' UAAP Volleyball Player of the Week from January 31 to February 8.
The San Juan, Batangas native scored 18 points in the Lady Eagles’ season opening victory over the Lady Bulldogs, 25-21, 25-19, 25-14.
Valdez smashed 15 kills and had three service winners to pace Ateneo and also added five excellent digs for an all-around performance.
She rallied the Lady Eagles in the first two sets where Ateneo needed to mount counterattacks to overtake the upset-conscious Lady Bulldogs.
The 22-year-old open hitter pick up from where she left off after a week as Valdez sizzled with 23 points to help Ateneo weather the challenge given by University of Sto. Tomas and its spitfire attacker Cherry Rondina, 25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-15, last Sunday to preserve the Lady Eagles unblemished record and a share of the lead with archrival De La Salle University Lady Spikers.
Valdez uncorked 20 thunderous attacks to highlight her performance and outgun Rondina.
Behind Valdez, Ateneo extended its incredible winning run to 20 dating back to the Lady Eagles’ victories in Game 3 and 4 of Season 76 Finals.
Valdez edged Rondina and setter Kim Fajardo of DLSU for the distinction.
Rondina exploded with a career-high 30 points in the Golden Tigresses’ first assignment of the season against Adamson University before dropping 21 markers versus Ateneo.
Unfortunately for Rondina, currently the league’s top scorer with a total of 51 points or an average of 25.5 markers per outing, all her efforts were put into naught with UST sliding to a 0-2 start tied with University of the East. The Tigresses bowed down to the Lady Falcons in five sets.
Fajardo, also in her last playing year, glued the Lady Spikers together in their straight sets demolition of Far Eastern University and a four-set win over University of the Philippines.
The DLSU playmaker dished out 35 excellent sets against the Lady Tamaraws only to top it after three days with 41 perfect sets versus the Lady Maroons.
Fajardo after two games averaged 10.86 sets per frame ahead of last year’s Best Setter Jia Morado of Ateneo who normed 7.29 per set.
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