We just have to stay together -- De Leon on Ateneo's health woes

Mark Escarlote on Sep 16, 2017 07:56 PM
We just have to stay together -- De Leon
Magkakasama pa rin kami kasi at the end of the day, 'yun ang kailangan ng team to just stay together -- Ateneo skipper Bea De Leon

Ateneo de Manila University team captain Bea De Leon is facing the challenge of leading an injury-laden team head on.

The fourth year middle blocker remains positive despite the health issues plaguing the Lady Eagles.     

“It’s very hard kasi pati ako affected din kasi pinakauna kong kalaban sarili ko. It’s hard to see a lot of them injured, very hurt, all of them who really want to be there and want to help,” said De Leon after Ateneo’s straight sets win over the gritty Lyceum of the Philippines University.

The Katipunan-based squad defeated the Lady Pirates, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20, to get back in the win column in Group A of the inaugural Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan Saturday despite a number of players sidelined with injuries.

De Leon returned to action after skipping the Lady Eagles’ four-set loss to Far Eastern University last week to attend an immersion in Capas, Tarlac and finished with eight points. Maddie Madayag, who sat out Ateneo’s previous game because of an ankle injury, chipped in nine markers while Jules Samonte and Ponggay Gaston combined for 16 points to fill in the scoring void left by injured Jho Maraguinot, Kim Gequillana and Ana Gopico.

Maraguinot was nursing a left foot sprain, Gopico has yet to see action due to a hamstring injury while Gequillana’s left leg was strapped with an immobilizer after hurting her knee last week against FEU.   

“There’s nothing much to say but really sad, very hard and I hope we’ll get through it and sana we’ll see maybe these things are blessings in disguise,” said De Leon. “We can only hope ‘cause syempre any loss is hard to take in but we can’t stop eh.”

Gequillana, who watched the game on the sidelines, is still waiting for the final result of her MRI to know the extent of her injury and the timeline of her return. But with Gequillana limping and obviously still in pain, suiting up for Ateneo might not come any sooner. 

“Medyo nakakagulat pa rin, I wasn’t really expecting to get injured sa last game kasi I don’t know, like for me, I have like a big responsibility sa team last game kasi nga wala si Bea so I thought na I had this responsibility to help the team,” she said. “Then noong na-injure ako it was a bit hard to take kasi parang wala na akong magagawa that game kasi it should be me helping the team. But you know wala talaga sa kamay mo 'yung mga ganong circumstances.”

With limited offensive option, the Lady Eagles came out with a quiet 26-kill outing, 10 attack points less than LPU’s output. Save for Ateneo’s 12 service aces and 31 free points off the Lady Pirates errors, the match could’ve gone the other way.   

Ateneo improved to 2-1 win-loss record but their journey for a semifinals lot will not come any easier with their remaining games against San Sebastian College and National University. Another loss will put the Lady Eagles in a precarious position of missing the semis cut. 

Still, De Leon keeps a positive mindset.

“Motivating them I think it comes more na you have to let them know na, when one goes down another one must come up, so they have to believe in themselves na we can fill the spot,” she said. “We just stay together and make sure na all these things we try to process. Magkakasama pa rin kami kasi at the end of the day, 'yun ang kailangan ng team to just stay together.”

 

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