Heartstrong for a cause
With more than 13,000 fans filling the seats of the SM Mall of Asia Arena, drums banging away in the nosebleeds, and the match dragging to five sets, the Battle of the Rivals felt more like a UAAP championship game rather than an exhibition contest.
With such an atmosphere, three-time UAAP MVP Alyssa Valdez felt it apt to deliver a throwback performance.
The last time Valdez played in the Mall of Asia Arena, she delivered 34 points and kept the Ateneo Lady Eagles alive in the UAAP Season 78 Finals.
Facing the De La Salle Lady Spikers in a charity game, the Batangueña powered in 36 points and fueled the Lady Eagles come-from-behind win.
The four-time PVL MVP wanted to give the fans who spent hard-earned money and continued to show support a great show.
“Nagulat kami pag labas namin, UAAP uli?”
“Tapos sabi namin it wouldn’t be the same kung ‘di kakantahin alma mater song. ‘Yun ‘yung nagkumpleto sa Ateneo-La Salle na match,” the 24-year old shared. “‘Di namin alam ano nangyari sa amin sa loob we just really played for all the fans and supporters. Kapag nakikita mo nageenjoy lang talaga sila, nakaka-boost ng morale. It was a good match.
“‘Yung mga tao sana nag-enjoy din.”
The Lady Eagles were down 0-2 in sets and had to climb back. Valdez revealed that the entire team felt obligated to extend the match.
“Honestly speaking, sabi namin guys laban lang tayo kasi marami ring sumusporta sa atin.
“Buong time tumatawa lang kami. It was one way of catching up na rin. Iba-iba kami ng club teams yung iba nasa school pa,” the National Team stalwart added.
While it was nice having a mini reunion, Valdez emphasized that this match was really for the scholars.
“Iba talaga yuing feeling when you play kasama yung mga dati mong teammates. You cant really explain, kami, we can’t really explain. Pag tumingin ka sa likod, nakasmile lang,” shared Valdez, who was also a scholar in the Ateneo. “Pag tumingin ka sa harap, naka-smile lang. Pag nag-error, it doesn’t matter, we just play because we really enjoy the game.
“Heartstrong! Pag hindi pa tapos, di pa tapos! It’s for the scholars!”
And heartstrong was in full display Sunday night. Heartstrong for the future of Ateneo and La Salle’s scholars.