MANILA, Philippines - "Palagi naman kaming do-o-die." These were the words of Ateneo captain Alyssa Valdez after the Lady Eagles lost to De La Salle University in Game 2 of the UAAP women’s volleyball finals, putting them in yet another do-or-die situation this season.
Thanks to La Salle’s sweep of the elimination round, the Lady Eagles had to go through the gauntlet en route to a surprising Finals appearance – their third straight. They battled fourth-seed Adamson, and then overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the second-seeded National University (NU).
Those are three do-or-die games that the Lady Eagles have already survived, and they play another one on Wednesday against La Salle, who only need to win one more game to clinch a fourth consecutive title.
“Since Adamson naman, do-or-die na kami,” said Valdez, who scored 15 points in the Game 2 loss. “Siguro mas nakuha na namin ‘yung experience sa do-or-die matches, kasi since Adamson, and then twice sa NU.”
But playing a do-or-die game against a team like La Salle is an entirely different situation. The Lady Spikers were out for revenge last Saturday after Ateneo stunned them in Game 1, and successfully held off a last-ditch rally by Ateneo for a four-set win that brought them to within a game of a four-peat.
“Siguro na-excite kami, kasi sino ba naman ang hindi mae-excite na sa first game, nanalo kayo against La Salle, na undefeated?” Valdez explained. “You’re trying your best talaga, and s’yempre maf-frustrate ka talaga kapag hindi mo nagawa ‘yung pinractice niyo sa training.”
Even though their backs are against the wall once more, Valdez insists her team still has nothing to lose, since they entered the season as a rebuilding team with no expectations of making the Finals.
“We have nothing to lose talaga. Laging sinasabi sa amin na wala din namang nag-expect na makakaabot kami sa ganito kataas,” she said. “So nothing to lose, more to gain.”
The only thing that the Lady Eagles can do is to play their hearts out, she said.
“Do-or-die na naman, so hopefully maglaro kami with heart. ‘Yun lang ‘yung gusto ng managers namin, ng coaches at ng team – all out talaga,” Valdez said. “Maglalaro lang kami, sobrang ibibigay namin lahat at hindi kami mage-expect.”