Valdez makes V-League debut as Ateneo sweeps San Sebastian
MANILA, Philippines — Alyssa Valdez made a surprise debut and the Ateneo Lady Eagles trumped the San Sebastian Lady Stags, 25-17, 25-13, 25-21, in Group B of the Shakey's V-League 12 Collegiate Conference on Sunday, July 19 at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Valdez, who was supposed to rest this tournament after a grueling local and international schedule all year, surprised fans as she checked in at the start of the third set and scored her first point on a drop ball.
She finished with 5 points including one block as the back-to-back UAAP champions rose to a 2-0 record.
"I think it was for emergency purposes," the two-time UAAP MVP shared in Filipino why she was used in today's game, saying it was head coach Tai Bundit's decision. "Most probably it's because we're incomplete and short on players. I'm part of the line-up so I have a responsibility to the team that I must fulfill."
Valdez said she herself did not expect to play but prepared anyway. She only found out she would be fielded in when veteran Ella de Jesus was rushed to the hospital with an eye infection and was forced to sit out the match.
"Buti nga may dala akong damit (It's a good thing I brought my clothes)," Valdez said laughing. "Coach Tai always said that, as a player, you should always be prepared."
Jhoanna Maraguinot carried the Lady Eagles once more with her 13 points built on 10 kills and a couple of blocks. Kim Gequillana had 11 on 9 attacks and two service aces.
Ateneo, which is also missing the services of Kat Tolentino due to an ACL injury, made short work of the still winless San Sebastian and thrived on well-placed spikes that exposed the Lady Stags' poor floor defense.
Denice Lim and Jolina Labiano posted 9 points apiece to lead San Sebastian, who are now 0-2 in the tournament. While libero Gretchel Soltones made an appearance as well and played the last two sets. Soltones injured her shoulder a few weeks before the SEA Games. — Rappler.com