The anticipated down-the-wire match between arch-rivals Ateneo De Manila University and De La Salle University in the UAAP Season 78 Women's Volleyball tournament turned out to be a walk in the park for the Lady Spikers.
The Taft-based squad needed only an hour and 16 minutes to exact some kind of revenge on its Finals tormentors in the last two seasons, cruising to an emphatic 25-22, 25-14, 25-18 victory yesterday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
So how did the key players from both teams fare in the much-anticipated showdown? Read on!
Alyssa Valdez (2)
The reigning back-to-back MVP was the lone player from the Katipunan-based squad to finish in double figures with 11 points, her lowest output of the season. She also had eight digs in the game.
Jhoana Maraguinot (15)
The second year hitter provided some help for Valdez, scoring eight points anchored on seven attacks. The Batangas native also contributed five digs. She still leads the league in spiking with a 43.97-percent success rate.
Bea de Leon (14)
The sophomore middle blocker lacked her usual in-game swag, making only six points the entire match. Her presence at the net was hardly felt as Ateneo had a forgettable two blocks in the game—one each from de Leon and Amy Ahomiro.
Maddie Madayag (17)
The second year middle blocker, who had been a revelation this season after being sparingly used during her rookie year, seemed overwhelmed by the massive crowd at the Big Dome, as she registered a season-low four points.
Jia Morado (12)
The third year setter tallied 10 sets for the game. Her ball distribution, however, landed mostly on Valdez and seemed to forget other options like Maraguinot and the middle blockers.
Ara Galang (8)
The graduating La Salle hitter played as if she had not suffered an ACL, MCL, and meniscus tear on her left knee. Galang contributed on both ends of the floor with 10 points, making eight spikes and two service aces, plus three digs.
Mika Reyes (3)
The fifth year middle blocker had nine points for La Salle as she imposed her will at the net with solid defense, including an emphatic block on Valdez. Her reaction after that particular denial was one of the biggest highlights of the match. It was as if all her pent-up emotions and frustrations came bursting out all at once.
Mary Joy Baron (10)
Like Reyes, the third year middle blocker never got intimidated by the loud Ateneo crowd and instead played big. She had six points, three blocks, and a service ace for La Salle. Baron currently leads all blockers in the tournament with a total of 20 and an average of a block per set.
Kim Dy (11)
She was Coach Ramil de Jesus' secret weapon. Nobody expected the third year middle blocker to play opposite Valdez and match the back-to-back MVP's performance. Dy had 10 points and every La Salle supporter's praises.
Kim Fajardo (9)
The fourth year court general proved she's not just a good setter but is an all-around player as well, top-scoring with 13 points. She rained down seven service aces—more than half of her team's total of 13. Fajardo and Madayag combined for 16 service aces, but the former has the higher average with an 80-percent success rate, compared to the latter's 73-percent.