One cannot list the greatest De La Salle University Lady Spikers without lauding Stephanie Mercado
A three-time UAAP champion, Mercado just barely missed the boom of local volleyball. To long-time fans, Mercado left lasting images of her “tiklop-sa-ere” form and powerful hits.
The new generation fans of the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry were treated to a throwback performance as Mercado went off in the Battle of the Rivals at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The daughter of Asia’s fastest woman Lydia De Vega, Mercado delivered a show-stopping 13 points. For her, playing in front of a packed crowd at the MoA treat was an incredible treat.
“Masaya, sobrang saya na after UAAP, ngayon ko na lang ulet na-experience ‘yung ganitong suporta from the La Sallian community.
“Kung ganung kaingay ‘yung audience, nakakadala talaga sila,” shared the now 28-year old, who plays for the Cignal HD Spikers.
Five years had past since she last donned the Green and White but she hopes she gave a fans a great show and that they appreciated her effort in a match for the benefit of Ateneo and La Salle’s athletic scholars.
“Majority of them (fans), siguro, ngayon lang ako nakilala or nakita na maglaro. Sana naman napakitaan ko sila nang magandang laro.
“Sana naging masaya din sila sa nakita nila na ngayon na lang din ako nakalaro with my former teammates under our very loving coach Ramil (De Jesus),” the 5-foot-8 spiker furthered.
Ten-time UAAP champion head coach Ramil De Jesus was pleased to see Mercado still had a great performance in her.
“So marami namang nakaka-alala kay Paneng,” De Jesus expressed. “Kahit hindi niya na inabutan ‘yung Ateneo-La Salle rivalry, malaking bagay siya noong nag-Finals kami kalaban ang UST.
“Naipakita niya ngayon sa fans na hindi siya kilala kung sino siya.”
If anything, Mercado is thankful that the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry reached these heights.
“For how many season, sunod-sunod na nag-Finals appearance yung both teams. Sabi ko lalaki ‘to and I felt like ito ‘yung magdadala sa volleyball. Grabe ‘din ‘yung in-improve ng volleyball overall.”