what a season it was! ADMU lady eagles won back to back volleyball titles. alyssa valdez was the season's most valuable player (MVP) once again, jia morado was the best setter, denden lazaro is the best receiver and amy ahomiro was the finals MVP.
last season, i was just too happy to see the lady eagles take home their first ever volleyball crown. they of course defeated the DLSU lady spikers in three matches in the finals series. but i must also say that more than the crown, i got pleasure from seeing aby marano and the mighty ladies being brought back to earth. that famous victory proved that in sports and in life in general, everything is possible.
this season, each match ateneo played was a delight to watch. anchored on their heartstrong mantra, they swept the eliminations and got the thrice to beat advantage. of course, it wasn't a smooth sailing all throughout. they were pushed by my UP lady maroons on the brink of defeat but they managed to snag a hard-fought 5-set win. adamson pushed them to 5 sets once again but regained composure in the fifth set. dlsu had a good chance to beat them in their first round meeting but valdez delivered as usual and brought in one of season's finest game. in their second round meeting, the match was done in 4 sets.
they had to wait for 20 days before playing dlsu because of the stepladder format. i was concerned that they might suffer the same fate dlsu had last year and i'm pretty sure that it was dlsu's main objective last wednesday. but valdez posted 20 big points and the girls zipped the victory in 3 sets. last saturday, dlsu was out for blood. in the first and third sets, the lady spikers actually led in the early exchanges. some service and hitting errors did admu in and allowed dlsu to gain composure. but as boom gonzales and ian laurel said, lady eagles had the skills to pull away by effectively converting defense into offense in successive fashion. the sheer number of attacks from valdez, ahomiro, michelle morente, ella de jesus and even morado, limited dlsu and proved to be the winning formula. the match and the title was with admu in 3 straight sets.
many said that the match could have turned to dlsu's favour had ara galang was there. some even said that admu's victory was a fake one since galang was not able to play due to injury. galang is a great player, she won't be included in the national team for nothing. but the lady eagles was the more complete and in-sync team. their all-around game, from digging, receiving, setting and attack brought them the crown and even when galang was in the mix on the other side, admu would still win the championship. admu of course needs to work on cutting down their errors and be more effective in blocking but season 77 was theirs. and theirs alone. they swept the competition and is now at 16 straight wins.
we'd have to wait a little longer for UAAP season 78. basketball will not start in july so volleyball tournament would probably start in january 2016. anyhow, i'm so looking forward to next season. are we finally seeing UE win a game? angelica dacaymat was the revelation in season 77 and with kathleen arado adjudged as the rookie of the year, i hope that they finally win a game. i was disappointed with the second round flameout by adamson lady falcons. they started right but could not maintain their form and ended 7th in the standings. i hope that next year, mylene paat, amanda villanueva and fenela emnas bring the lady falcons back to the final four. UST will not have ojie mamon as their coach but i'd love to see cherry rondina bring in the energy once again. FEU was the welcome addition to the final four with a very young roster that include heather guinoo and toni rose basas. NU still has jaja santiago, season 77 best attacker, and the very good jorelle singh. dlsu still has their 4th year players but will heavily depend on christine soyud and mary joy baron, two of their best rookies.
i would love to see UP in the final four next season. sad that angeli araneta graduated but they still have nicole tiamzon, the recuperating kathy bersola and able players such as vina alinas and arianne ilustre. lazaro, de jesus and aerieal patnongon are all graduating but admu still has the valdez, ahomiro, morado, bea de leon and morente, together with maraguinot, gequillana and madayag.