Heather Guino-o still rose to the occasion in spite of playing in a no-bearing game, giving Far Eastern University a huge morale booster before heading into the Final Four.
Already locked at the No. 4 spot heading into the semifinals, Guino-o unleashed a career-high 24 points to lift FEU in stunning defending champion De La Salle Universiry with a come-from-behind 25-22, 13-25, 15-25, 27-25, 15-8 victory on Sunday to end its elimination round on a high note at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
As she saved the best for last this elimination round, the graduating wing spiker earned the final Chooks to Go-Collegiate Press Corps Player of the Week in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
"Para sa amin hindi siya no-bearing,” Guino-o said. “Malaking tulong nitong game na ito kapag nanalo kami para sa mga next po naming games. Kasi makakaboost po ito ng morale namin.”
After ending an eight-game skid to La Salle, Guino-o bested candidates Chiara Permentilla of Adamson, Sisi Rondina of University of Santo Tomas, Kat Tolentino of Ateneo and Jolina Dela Cruz of De La Salle for the weekly nod given by beat writers from the broadsheets, tabloids and sports websites.
"Sobrang importante tsaka sobrang halaga kasi ayun nga sobrang eager kami na makuha ‘to kasi ang tagal na namin silang hindi natatalo tsaka it’s time naman na ipakita namin na kaya din namin silang matalo,” she added.
The spiker, who hails from Cavite, emerged as FEU’s top scorer — No.7 in the league — as she averaged 12.8 points per game in the elimination round.
Playing her best in her final playing year, Guino-o just wanted to do everything she can to win games for FEU and be a great example to her teammates.
"Hindi ko naman naiisip yung points talaga, ang naiisip ko kung ano yung makakapagpanalo sa team, kung ano yung makakapagpaboost sa mga teammates ko ng kumpiyansa nila,” Guino-o said.
"Kailangan ko muna isipin na kailangan magstart sa sarili ko para makita nila na kailangn din nila na tulungan ako na ipakita kung ano yung kaya nila.”
The bigger challenge is now ahead of FEU as it will take on the league leading Ateneo in the Final Four for the third straight year.
Even as the tables have turned with the Lady Eagles holding a twice-to-beat incentive, the graduating Lady Tamaraw believes that it just made them more eager to win for them to reach their goal in returning to the Finals.
"Sobrang eager kami matalo yung Ateneo lalo na po may twice-to-beat advantage sila kailangan talaga namin manalo para makuha namin yung pinaka main goal namin,” Guino-o said.