Last flight for the blue and white: Bea De Leon ends UAAP career as a champion

In her final game for the Katipunan squad, Bea De Leon made sure to end her UAAP career the exact way it began.

The graduating team captain went out in the best way possible as the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles clinched the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball championship after a masterful straight-set victory over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, earlier at the Mall of Asia Arena.

After a dominant first set victory over the Tigresses, the Lady Eagles saw trouble amid a late comeback by their opponents in the succeeding two sets with UST team captain Sisi Rondina leading the charge.

However, De Leon and the Lady Eagles wasted no time in finishing the game as quickly as possible, with the final blow delivered by an off-the-block hit by open hitter Jules Samonte.

With the win, the Lady Eagles captured their third title in the league, the first two championships being a back-to-back feat in Seasons 76 and 77.

Registering six points in her final game for Ateneo, De Leon proved her game wasn’t just about scoring for her team but also delivering the intangibles as her leadership and passion resonated within the Lady Eagles–evident with her Finals MVP award.

It was a sweet victory for De Leon who experienced a three-year title drought after finishing her rookie days with the Lady Eagles as champions.

“I’m just so grateful, honestly. I just want to put it out there and say that it was all Him. The whole time, the coaches told us to trust in Him and trust each other and that’s a big factor, anchoring ourselves to Him,” De Leon said.

“We really just surrendered everything and we’re here today. It’s the best feeling, and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who is part of it,” she added.

De Leon has had quite a journey for the Lady Eagles this season as she noticeably struggled to get her game going in the first round, taking the backseat in scoring amid powerful performances from Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino.

Since then, the graduating team captain pulled through, getting her momentum in the second round and showing up big time in their semifinal games against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws.

Finishing with a championship is the best feeling for De Leon, who said playing her final year for the blue and white is the best decision she has ever made in her life.

She further thanked head coach Oliver Almadro for choosing to stick with her until the very end.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made, and I’m so happy that Coach O still called me up. He had the choice to replace me but he still called me up, and I still remember that day when he did,” De Leon said.

“I’m thankful for Coach O for still wanting me to be part of the team–alam mo naman na hindi ako makaka-hindi kay Coach O. It was such a risk but we’re here and we did it,” she ended.

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