MANILA, Philippines—Ateneo team captain Bea de Leon exited the UAAP the way she entered it: as a champion.
A rookie when the Lady Eagles put together a perfect campaign in Season 77, de Leon played a major role in bringing Ateneo back to the top in Season 81.
The middle blocker was the Lady Eagles' emotional bedrock in their three-game finals series against University of Santo Tomas, with Ateneo coming out on top after a 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 triumph in the deciding Game 3 on Saturday.
De Leon scored 6 points in the win, coming through with a clutch block in the third set to stave off the Tigresses' rally. She averaged 7.6 points per game for the series, and was named finals MVP.
"Nothing compares to this feeling right now," said de Leon, who adds that returning for her final season was "the best decision I ever made."
De Leon was limited to just 4 points in a brutal straight-sets loss to UST in Game 1, but unloaded 13 markers in Game 2 as the Lady Eagles forced a deciding game.
She then came up with another solid performance in Game 3, helping anchor the Lady Eagles' net defense as they flustered UST's powerful spikers all throughout the match.
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