Alyssa Valdez thinks FEU will be top contender in UAAP Season 79

More than Ateneo having a bad day, its former star spiker Alyssa Valdez believes FEU’s huge win Wednesday at the 13th Shakey’s V-League Collegiate Conference quarterfinals was the own doing of the peaking Lady Tamaraws.

After failing to snatch a win from the Lady Eagles in Season 78, FEU, who only lost the services of main setter Gyzelle Sy, crushed the opponents, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22, to head into the semis atop the rankings.

Though Ateneo helped its cause with 19 unforced errors, the bigger numbers were produced by the trio of Remy Palma, Toni Rose Basas and Bernadeth Pons who scored a combined 36-point output.

“I’ll give it to FEU talaga. They are very intact. They are a very mature and experienced team. Kahit ano’ng mangyari, they gave a good fight. Kahit pinasok second stringers nila, sobrang ganda ng pinakita ng lahat,” she told FOX Sports.

In contrast, the Katipunan crew, though successful in making it past the first round, are playing sans Valdez, Amy Ahomiro and Jho Maraguinot, all key players in the team’s runner-up finish in the last round of the UAAP.

For FEU, Pons dominated the stats anew by also appearing in the non-scoring departments with 15 excellent digs and 10 excellent receptions.

This, according to Valdez, only shows why the Lady Tamaraws are one of the top finals contenders come Season 79.

“Ngayon pa lang maganda na ‘yung pinapakita ng FEU. What more kung makakuha sila ng experience dito sa Shakey’s V-League? Most definitely maganda ang ipapakita ng team na ito sa darating na UAAP,” said Valdez matter-of-factly.

With the loss, Valdez’s teammates will head back to square one, facing San Sebastian for another do-or-die match, their fourth in just one conference.

Having more experience since the Lady Stags swept them in the first round, the Lady Eagles will get the chance to claim vengeance from Grethcel Soltones and company.

But for the 2-time UAAP champion, win or lose, Ateneo is gaining enough traction for its next UAAP campaign.

“Ateneo naman kahit ano’ng mangyari, I think they’re giving their best. They’re getting the confidence that they need for the UAAP. But they fell short pero wala namang may gusto na matalo. They just have to fight to stay alive dito,” she said.

Now more than ever, Valdez’s presence, output and leadership could make the difference for the Lady Eagles in their bid to book the last seat in the post-season.

Shunning the idea of suiting up on Saturday, Valdez said it is not gonna happen.

“Kailangan talaga ng team to perform na wala kami ni Kiwi (Ahomiro) na medyo matanda na rin talaga. New team ito. Kailangan nila na mag communicate. Kaya nila ‘yan. We really believe in them,” shared ‘The Phenom.’ — By Mac Dionisio