MANILA, Philippines – Sitting on the bench hiding her face in her hands, Ara Galang shut out the shrieks of anticipation and the eventual loud celebration of a partisan crowd clad in blue.
The injured team captain of the De La Salle Lady Spikers could barely watch as her team fell in straight sets to the now 2-time champions Ateneo Lady Eagles.
She never took a peep from the moment Ateneo reached 21 points in the third set, 4 points away from a first-ever 16-0 sweep of the season.
Galang, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) right before the Finals, admitted she felt defeated and helpless.
“Nag-pray lang ako noon e. Wala naman ako magagawa kung hindi yun lang,” the former co-Most Valuable Player shared what was on her mind during Ateneo’s winning moments.
“Tumatakbo sa isip ko ang sakit lang kasi manood sa teammates mo na wala kang magawa. Hindi mo sila matulungan talaga. May tulong ka pero hindi yun enough e.”
(I was praying at the time. That was the only thing I could do. In my head I knew it hurt because I was watching my teammates and I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t help them at all. I helped somewhat but it wasn’t enough.)
Ara Galang: "Ang sakit lang kasi manood sa teammates mo na wala kang magawa e." @dlsuladyspikers @Amphigong #UAAP77 pic.twitter.com/KyiEKMEnQ4— Jane Bracher (@janebracher) March 16, 2015
Galang could do nothing. But with the season over, she knows the best way to help her team is to go down the 8-month road to recovery immediately. Whether or not she’ll play next season is not even on her mind yet.
“Honestly ayoko muna mag-focus sa next season ko,” said Galang, who will be undergoing surgery in about a month once the swelling in her left knee subsides. “Darating ako doon pero gusto ko muna mag-focus sa recovery ko.”
(Honestly I don’t want to focus on next season yet. I will get to that but for now I just want to focus on my recovery.)
She said timelines are not clear yet for her return.
“Hindi ko masasabi. Hindi ko siya mamadaliin pero I’ll see to it that talagang fully recovered ako.” (I can’t say. I won’t rush it but I’ll see to it that I’ll be fully recovered.)
Throughout the two-game stepladder Finals, Galang tried to do her part even from the sidelines. She shared how she motivated and encouraged her teammates to absorb all positivity they could.
La Salle's Ara Galang in tears as her team loses in straight sets to Ateneo @rapplerdotcom #UAAP77Volleyball pic.twitter.com/a61EbirK3H— Jane Bracher (@janebracher) March 14, 2015
But even head coach Ramil de Jesus admitted losing the team’s top scorer and leader was simply too much to overcome.
“Siguro hindi lang talaga meant to be (It probably just wasn’t meant to be),” Galang said, as she took 16 seconds of full silence before answering the media’s first question.
(RELATED: IN PHOTOS: Ateneo Lady Eagles win back-to-back UAAP titles)
Despite falling short and missing the Finals, Galang says she has no regrets.
“Everything happens for a reason naman (after all). Naniniwala naman ako na may plan si Lord (I believe the Lord has plans) for me and the team.” – Rappler.com
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