More confident Mika Reyes says La Salle better than last season
MANILA, Philippines – As what's become customary in the Ramil De Jesus era, the De La Salle University Lady Spikers are off to another fast start in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament with a 4-1 record in Season 78.
With a 4-set loss to NU as its lone blemish, DLSU has looked impressive on multiple aspects of the statistical categories. It currently stands as the second-best team in the league behind Ateneo (5-0).
A reason for the Lady Spikers' impressive play is veteran Mika Reyes, who in her last outing posted a team-high 10 points as her club defeated UE in 3 sets.
Reyes has been solid this season as she's 13th overall in the league in scoring – 38 on spikes, 11 on blocks, and 4 on service aces.
Her impressive play has also helped La Salle to place second in attacks, first in blocks, and first in service aces in the current UAAP rankings.
Why the great campaign thus far?
"I'm not putting pressure on myself and on my team," Reyes said in Filipino following the game against UE this past weekend.
"Our goal is to play each and every game with joy, like we're having fun."
"Yes, yes, yes," a beaming Reyes said when asked if she's more confident in her abilities this season than last.
"We are [all] more confident than last season."
That confidence stems from Reyes' goal during the offseason to improve on more than just the basic skills of volleyball.
"Of course, I improved on all of my skills," she said. "Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally [and] spiritually."
The Lady Spikers' 2015 season ended on a second straight sour note as they fell to the undefeated Ateneo Lady Eagles in the finals anew, with Ara Galang watching from the sidelines due to multiple injuries in her knee.
Reyes felt that her performance the entire last season wasn't good enough, thus leading to the extra work she put in to be better in her final year in 2016.
"I wasn't like a star player last year that I didn't need to improve on my game," she said. "So I told myself I would continue to push even if it's my final playing year.
"Everything, everything. I don't want to specify," she answered about what she worked on.
"But I believe people will agree with me that we're better than last season."
How much better DLSU is – with Galang back and an improved Mary Baron, 9th and 16th in league scoring, respectively – will be put to test when they face Ateneo on Saturday, February 27.
The last time La Salle beat Ateneo was in Game 2 of the 2014 UAAP finals. That was also the last time the Lady Eagles lost a game, after which they began a 24-game winning streak.
"We're treating the game against Ateneo just like any other game," Reyes said.
But is there pressure on her, as an ate (older sister) of her teammates, to elevate her game on a consistent basis?
"The pressure is there, but I don't want to consider that there's pressure on me," she explained.
"We're all seniors now," she added, referring to the team's veteran players, such as Galang and league-leading setter Kim Fajardo.
"We have younger teammates with us. We're just going to [guide] them inside and outside the court so we can bring them along with us." – Rappler.com