Morado recalls De Leon’s big role in Lady Eagles' perfect Season 77
Mark Escarlote on May 27, 2020 03:59 PM
(Photo: Arvin Lim)
Jia Morado shared how the then rookie Bea De Leon’s quick return from a finger injury turned out to be a pivotal moment for the Ateneo de Manila University’s perfect run back in UAAP Season 77 women’s volleyball tournament.
The former Lady Eagles setter recalled how De Leon’s presence helped Ateneo complete an elimination round sweep for an outright Finals seat five years ago during an episode of The Score’s Kalye Confessions .
“’Dun ko nakita kung gaano ka-passionate si Bea sa volleyball,” said Morado as she talked about the middle blockers rookie season.
The Poveda product was a vital cog for the then repeat-seeking Lady Eagles. Ateneo was on a ten-game winning streak when De Leon sustained an injury while training in February 2015.
De Leon suffered an open dislocation on her left index finger while trying to block an attack from then fellow rookie Maddie Madayag.
“Ang dami talagang nangyari doon sa rookie year n’ya,” said Morado. “Kasama na doon na-injure ang daliri nya, na na-injure sa training at akala namin na di siya makakabalik for a long time sa games namin.”
De Leon was out for two weeks and missed three games before making her return in the crucial end of elims match against archrival De La Salle University.
“Sobrang crucial pa naman ng mga games namin noon and in the run for rookie of the year pa naman sana siya noon,” said Morado of De Leon, who was beaten by University of Sto. Tomas’ EJ Laure and University of the East libero Kath Arado for the Rookie of Year award. “So kami parang ‘Sayang, sobrang sayang.’”
“(But) she cut her recovery short para makalaro sa Ateneo-La Salle game,” added Morado.
The playmaker also lauded De Leon’s dedication that season as she opted not to undergo surgery but instead just had her finger stitched as she rested for a couple of weeks.
De Leon, whose finger was heavily bandaged, was a surprise starter in the match against the Lady Spikers.
“’Yun bumalik siya ng maaga kahit naka-tape pa ng sobra ang daliri niya,” Morado said. “Ang laking risk nun for her kasi kapag natamaan yun masama lalala ang injury niya but she played the game of her life nu’ng bumalik siya.”
Her presence gave Ateneo a big boost in the all-important match that the Lady Eagles won in four sets, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 27-25.
De Leon finished with 11 points including three kill blocks to back Alyssa Valdez, who scored 29 markers.
With De Leon back in the fold, the Lady Eagles went on to write history as they defeated DLSU in the Finals to retain their crown in a perfect 16-0 season sweep.
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