MANILA, Philippines – La Salle super rookie Angel Canino once again set Lady Spikers’ fans abuzz after elevating her game anew at the expense of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a rivalry long turned one-sided in favor of the green side.
In La Salle’s 11th straight win over Ateneo – a streak dating back to 2017 – the 19-year-old phenom reset her season-high mark with 23 big points in a convincing three-set rout on Sunday, March 5, in front of 10,754 fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Canino displayed her full arsenal of powerful kill shots and off-speed hitting wizardry boosted by natural hang time, all while prancing around with an undeniable and warranted swagger that most Lady Spiker stars are known to exhibit.
Although the pride of Bacolod looked like she turned her first rivalry bout with Ateneo into a personal highlight reel, Canino admitted she was just trying to keep the magnitude of the moment at the back of her mind for the duration of the blowout.
“We were just being reminded to do our best and enjoy inside the court,” she said in Filipino after her third consecutive Player of the Game citation. “If you succumb to pressure, you won’t do anything worthwhile inside the court.”
“I’m happy because it’s a different thing when you have a rivalry with a team,” Canino continued. “There’s pressure, but at the same time, we’re not letting it get to us. We’re happy we faced Ateneo. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
With La Salle’s latest win coming after NU’s stunning loss against UST, the Lady Spikers remained the lone unbeaten team after just three games to stay in solo first place for the season.
“Angel is right, if you succumb to the pressure, you won’t perform well,” echoed La Salle interim head coach Noel Orcullo. “I commended them all because all of them stuck to our plan. What we studied for Ateneo during our viewing, we were at least able to apply it.”
As the season moves along and La Salle expectedly continues to rise back to title contention, the pressure will only mount along with the wins, and both will definitely come aplenty for this iteration of the Lady Spikers.
As early as now, Canino already has a veteran’s mindset down pat, and that can only mean more bad news for everyone else standing in her way. – Rappler.com
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