MANILA, Philippines – Two-time UAAP women’s volleyball Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Cha Cruz believes the De La Salle Lady Spikers will learn from their mistakes against the Ateneo Lady Eagles in their heart-breaking five-set loss in Game 3 of the Season 76 finals.
The favored Lady Spikers were one point away from a fourth consecutive title, 15-14, in the fifth frame, only to see the Lady Eagles score the last three points of the contest and force a do-or-die game.
Cruz, who was the Finals MVP when La Salle won the titles in Seasons 73 and 74, said it was painful for her to watch the Lady Spikers come so close only to fall short.
A La Salle fan. Photo by Mark Cristino
“Siguro, bilang alumnus and bilang ate ng team, from my point-of-view, siyempre nakakalungkot,” said Cruz.
“Pero in their position, I think it’s a blessing in disguise,” she said. “The more sila nasusugatan, the more sila nagiging matibay, and from there, natuto sila at nagma-mature sila.”
The experience is more precious for the rookies, Cruz added.
“Ang gandang learning experience ito for them, and also for the rookies, kung paano lumaban sa Finals,” she said.
La Salle entered the finals with a 30-game winning streak and a thrice-to-beat advantage after having swept the elimination round. But Ateneo has beaten them in two of their last three encounters despite being admittedly in a rebuilding year.
They will meet for the last time this season on Saturday in a match that will determine the championship, and Cruz expects both squads to give it their all.
“Sa Saturday, that’s gonna be the last game, so kailangan, all-out,” she said. “Doon natin mate-test kung ano ang laman ng puso ng player, at kung sino talaga ‘yung gustong manalo.”