Amy Ahomiro admits La Salle a better team in finals face-off
MANILA, Philippines – Amy Ahomiro, Finals MVP a year ago, walked out of the Ateneo Lady Eagles' locker room still shocked and puzzled at how their supposed third straight championship slipped through their fingers.
"We were right in the first set. I don't know what happened. They won?"
It was all Ahomiro could mutter.
"I guess it's a team who always wanted it more. Today they wanted it more and they deserve it. They played great. All of them played great," she added after the championship game last Saturday, April 30.
True enough, the La Salle Lady Spikers had been waiting to clinch this championship trophy for two years already, and it showed as they all delivered.
Points were equally distributed among the Lady Spikers in their final outing with Finals MVP Kim Dy leading the way with 17 points.
"It's an honor to be able to play against a team like that," said Ahomiro.
Overwhelmed with DLSU's blocking
La Salle denied Ateneo, especially captain Alyssa Valdez, at the net multiple times in the final stretch of the match. The powerful spikes of the tired Valdez couldn't bulldoze past the strong defense provided by Majoy Baron's blocking. (READ: Life goes on for Alyssa Valdez after finals loss)
Ahomiro was overwhelmed herself by the opponent's prolific defense.
"They were so big in the blocks. They were just dominating over us. We always tried to come back but it was never enough."
She admitted that her team grew frustrated and eventually collapsed. (IN PHOTOS: Smiles, tears as La Salle wins UAAP volleyball title)
"They're so big at the net. If you get blocked and blocked, it's really discouraging to fight back. They were just big on the blocks and they were playing great defense," Ahomiro said.
"Everything was just working for them and everything was not working for us."
Team effort to win a championship
The graduating Lady Eagle admitted that she didn't perform well, sadly in the most crucial game of her final year in the league. Surprisingly, she only had one point.
"I think I had the worst game of the season."
The senior who was part of the Season 76 and 77 champion teams knows well how team effort is crucial to winning games, much more the championship. They lacked that last Saturday. (SEE: Netizens pay tribute to graduating stars after La Salle-Ateneo UAAP Finals)
"Alyssa tried to carry us with her 31 points but I think, to win a championship, everyone needs to contribute. It has to be a team effort."
But Ahomiro recognized the efforts and "heartstrong" disposition of her teammates despite falling to the more eager La Salle side. (READ: Ara Galang used injury as motivation for one last championship)
"I think I was frustrated. Like I said, Alyssa and Jia played well. Bea played well. It just wasn't enough." (READ: La Salle heaps praise on departing MVP Valdez)
Leaving the UAAP
According to Ahomiro, the most unforgettable memory she'd always look back on is their first championship two years ago when Ateneo just lost the Fab Five to graduation.
The Fab Five consisted of Ateneo's key players that time – Fille Cainglet, Gretchen Ho, Dzi Gervacio, Jem Ferrer, and Aillysse Nacachi.
It seemed impossible for them to win a title against a more experienced La Salle team, but the Lady Eagles pulled off the feat with new coach Tai Bundit.
"It's the first championship we got two years ago. We were rebuilding after the Fab Five. Coach Tai was new, we were all kind of new. There was no pressure for us," Ahomiro said.
After that, the pressure grew and people started expecting more from them. But despite not being able to repeat for a third straight time, Ahomiro will exit the UAAP with much happiness and gratitude, especially to Ateneo.
"It was great. I'm very thankful for the opportunity given to me. This loss doesn't define us. It doesn't define me as an individual or Ateneo as a team. It's just today, La Salle was the better team." – Rappler.com