For La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus, spiker Ara Galang is yet to fully recover from her torn ACL despite having started in all of their games in Season 78.
De Jesus might have a point as the former skipper is yet to tally the same numbers that gave her the Season MVP award three years ago.
But for Galang, she is 100% ready and more to engage in another Ateneo-La Salle tussle which she missed during last year’s finals.
“100% or even 101% na ako. Nanggagaling naman ‘yan sa self-confidence eh. For me, physically and mentally, I’m ready 100%,” the outside hitter shared confidently.
Adding her thoughts on De Jesus’s comments, she says, “Oo, coach siya eh. Nakikita niya na wala pa ‘yung 100% pero for me naman, kung hindi ko sasabihin na 100% na ako, hindi ko makakamit eh. Ayaw ko ng excuses.”
Though Galang is only ranked 10th in scoring and 18th in spiking so far, she has been impressive as always on the defensive end, ranking 10th in digging and 4th in receiving—both skills having not much need for her to jump.
Her mantra coming into Saturday’s battle, she shares, is to not look too far ahead so as not to rush her physical and mental recovery.
“Hindi ko siya tinitignan sa standings eh. One game at a time kami at nagkataon lang na this time sila na ‘yung katapat namin,” she said about Ateneo’s 6-0 record. “Hindi ko iisipin na wala pa silang talo at hindi namin sila kaya. Ang iisipin ko, ang mindset ko is kaya namin sila and kaya namin ma-meet ‘yung goal namin.”
Despite coming to the matchup at a disadvantage as a team—having a 4-1 record— and as an individual whose leaping ability is yet to be back to the way it used to, Galang is nonetheless excited to face her toughest foe Alyssa Valdez.
“Excited ako na makalaban ulit si Alyssa (Valdez). Excited ako kasi last na namin pareho eh,” admitted the former Rookie of the Year.
On being on the receiving end of Valdez’s powerful kills, she adds, “Mahirap siyang kalaban kasi nandun ‘yung confidence niya. Mataas ‘yung percentage niya and matalino siya maglaro. Mahirap kasi marami na siyang experience.”
It will be the last year for the PH volleyball fans to see the Valdez-Galang rivalry in the collegiate ranks.
Knowing she and her team are the underdog in the upcoming matchup, Galang cites one advantage the Lady Spikers could capitalize on to boost their chances of winning.
“Ang advantage ko is ‘yung motivation and inspiration. ‘Yun na lang ‘yung paghuhugutan ko,” shared Galang.
“Motivation and inspiration ko kasi is ‘yung goal namin. Kung meron ka kasi nun, every game dapat all-out ka para wala kang pagsisihan,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio