Take two: Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz takes charge for La Salle again
MANILA, Philippines – Jolina Dela Cruz had a memorable UAAP seniors debut against Ateneo, but La Salle's standout rookie showed she's far from done.
Dela Cruz flashed another stellar performance as the Lady Spikers scored a dominant straight-set triumph yet again over their fierce rival in the second round of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament.
Not only did Dela Cruz surpass her previous tally against Ateneo with a game-high 14 points, but she also exceeded La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus' expectations. (ROOKIE WATCH: La Salle's Jolina dela Cruz gets Ara Galang comparisons)
"Well, sa practice naman, ganun si Jolina so expected namin na kahit kalahati nun kaya niya ibigay so sobra-sobra ‘to sa 50% na binigay niya eh," said De Jesus.
(Jolina performs well in our practices, so we expect her to at least show half of that ability in our games, but today, she showed more than 50%.)
"[Nasa] 80-90% yung binigay niya kanina para bumuhat sa team kanina. So ayun, alam naman natin na kaya niyang gawin yun."
(She gave 80-90% in our game earlier to carry our team. We all know that she’s very capable of doing that.)
It was not her season high, but it was Dela Cruz who took over late in the game as she recorded 6 points – including a service ace – in the final set to weather the Lady Eagles’ furious rally.
"Kasi sa training talaga, nakikita namin yung pagod din ni coach. ‘Yung pagod ni coach, umaga tsaka gabi nandun siya," said Dela Cruz, opting to give credit to the 11-time UAAP champion mentor.
"Siyempre po, mapapagod kami sa training, pero yung nagtuturo, napapagod din eh. So para kay coach ‘to."
(We see coach’s effort in our trainings. Yes we get tired, but of course, he also gets tired. This win is for coach.)
The former Academia de San Lorenzo standout is proving that she's adjusting well to the UAAP setting as she knows what's at stake in big rivalry game against the Lady Eagles.
"Siguro po habang naglalaro kami, nandun na po yung pride namin na bawal kami matalo dito," shared Dela Cruz.
(Our pride was at stake, we did not want to lose in this match.) – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com