Which rookies have impressed ex-Ateneo star Denden Lazaro?

From being down and defeated to being a 2-time UAAP champion, former Ateneo star Denden Lazaro has seen it all in terms of all types of action in the collegiate wars.

But if there is one thing that excites her now that she has transitioned into a sports analyst for Season 78, it is the promising rookies who she thinks will carry the torch after this year’s big stars follow her footsteps and use up their last year of eligibility for their respective teams.

Having debuted as a sportscaster during the FEU-La Salle tussle a couple of weeks back, the erstwhile Lady Eagle shared 2 names who impressed her from the sidelines.

“For me, ang daming tumatak. From FEU, ‘yung libero nila si (Ria) Duremdes and si (May) Luna from La Salle,” she told FOX Sports.

Read: Will Adamson-Ateneo go the distance like in Season 77?

True enough, Duremdes has been steady manning the floor for the Lady Tamaraws, ranking 5th in digging and 8th in receiving as of February 14.

“Sa libero ang laki ng shoes na finill-in niya na nawala na si Tin Agno. She’s one of the best liberos in the country, being part of the national team also,” Lazaro said.

“Nakita natin nag step-up siya sa role na binigay sa kanya and nakita natin how hard she worked for every rally and every ball,” she added. “A lot of promise pa for her this season. I’m happy for her na she was able to step-up.”

Read: UAAP Player Rankings 2.0: The MVP is heating up

And while the legendary libero spent 4 seasons battling La Salle in the finals, she was able to put the rivalry aside as she professionally and outstandingly did her job as an analyst, even showering freshman May Luna with well-deserved praises for her fearless demeanor.

“For May Luna naman impressive siya. Ang lakas niya!” she exclaimed.

“Pero alam kong may ii-improve at ilalakas pa siya. Nakita ko nga sa isa niyang palo parang sumigaw pa siya para matanggal ‘yung tensyon. As the game progressed naging mas loose na siya,” added the two-time best receiver and one-time best digger awardee.

Read: With Ateneo struggling, Maraguinot gladly helps man the floor

Luna, she says, could one day lead the Taft squad as an era is set to end with the exit of the likes of Ara Galang and Mika Reyes.

“I want to see more of her (Luna) this season especially last season na nila Ara (Galang) and nila Mika (Reyes),” she said. “There has to be someone who will step-up pag nawala na sila.”

In the same way that she spent years upping her level of play while studying and playing for Ateneo, Lazaro hopes to see the talent of the many young guns in the UAAP to blossom and unfold in the years to come.

“I’m really happy sa improvement ng players from last year and ‘yung mga bagong players, ‘yung rookies, ang dami,” shared Lazaro.

“Nakikita natin ‘yung potential ng mga bata and hopefully makita natin ‘yung growth nila as the season progresses,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio

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