Valdez crowns career year with Finals MVP trophy
Ateneo's Alyssa Valdez is the Finals MVP. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA -- Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez crowned a spectacular UAAP season by winning the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy after leading the Lady Eagles to their first ever women's volleyball championship.
Valdez, already the winner of the season MVP, Best Scorer and Best Server, scored 21 points and had 12 excellent digs in the do-or-die Game 4 of the Finals to power Ateneo to a stunning straight-sets victory, 25-23, 26-24, and 25-21.
She scored the final three points off the game for Ateneo, with her game-clinching spike going through the La Salle blockers and bouncing off the hands of the Lady Spikers.
"Started from the bottom, now we're here," said Valdez afterward, quoting a popular hiphop song with a laugh.
"Na-build up na din 'yung confidence ko noong latter part ng third set," said Valdez, who had two service aces in that set alone. "Kasi, andito na kami. Bakit pa kami magda-doubt sa sarili namin?"
Valdez was part of the Seasons 74 and 75 Ateneo teams that finished in second place after losing to La Salle in the Finals, and she admitted that it has yet to sink in that they were now champions.
"Nag-uusap nga kami ni (libero) DenDen (Lazaro) noong awarding. Parang hindi nagsi-sink in na tapos na 'yung season, na tapos na 'yung game at naka-gold tayo," she said.
"For the last two years, gustong-gusto namin itong makuha. Nagtiyaga lang talaga kami at binigay sa amin ni Lord. Masarap sa feeling, pero hindi pa rin talaga nagsi-sink in," Valdez added.
It was a surprising championship for the Lady Eagles, who entered the season with virtually no expectations after losing five key players from last year's team.
"Naiisip namin na worth it lahat ng pinaghirapan namin," said Valdez. "Ine-expect ng lahat na Final Four 'yung goal namin, tapos andito kami ngayon, nakatayo, at nakuha 'yung award."