MANILA, Philippines – It was one of the largest crowds drawn early in the season. The Arena in San Juan witnessed a fair division of blue and maroon on a Sunday afternoon, with loud, simultaneous chants of ‘One Big- UP Fight’ filling its corners.
In the end, the banners of the blue and white stood proud as the Ateneo Lady Eagles sent the erstwhile undefeated University of the Philippines Lady Maroons crashing back to earth with a commanding 25-14, 25-19, 25-21 victory.
The Lady Eagles snatched round one of the Battle of Katipunan by outscoring their neighbors 40-32 in spikes, 4-1 in blocks, while also registering 9 service aces and 28 digs. But what turned out to be an essential factor was how they forced 22 errors from UP- enough to keep their foes at bay throughout the match.
While it may have been a tough day for some UP fans, one can still sense positivity around the team’s dugout. Taguig City Representative Pia Cayetano, a former UP Lady Maroon herself, kept a smile glued on her face and instead focused on how far her alma mater has come in recent UAAP volleyball history.
“This is a long term plan that got us where we are today, and I’m proud of where they are,” said Cayetano about the development of UP’s volleyball program.
“It’s not by chance. It’s not something that happened overnight. It’s a lot of hardwork.”
Cayetano, former team captain of the Diliman-based squad, was part of the last UP team to win the UAAP Women’s Volleyball championship back in 1982. The former senator, who has two daughters playing for the women’s football varsity of the Maroons, knows a lot can still happen as the field is wide-open this season.
“A lot of times, when the level of competition is high, you can still get really surprised when it comes to the second round, in the latter part.”
“The key is consistency,” she added.
Cayetano believes the current lineup still has what it takes to reach this year’s Finals and bring the trophy back to the other side of Katipunan. She left a valuable message for the Lady Maroons once the game ended – that the road to success is never quite easy.
“It’s really in losing that you learn these valuable lessons. You shouldn’t be afraid of losing. That’s what I told the girls.” –Rappler.com
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