Jolina Dela Cruz embracing La Salle-Ateneo rivalry: ‘I don’t want to lose against them’
MANILA,Philippines—Jolina Dela Cruz is already showing off that animo spirit.
De La Salle’s rookie was stellar in leading the Lady Spikers in their sweep of Ateneo, 25-17, 25-13, 25-23, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Dela Cruz had 14 points in the victory and that wasn’t the only thing impactful she did in the burgeoning rivalry between the Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles.
“When we were playing, we already believed that our pride was on the line and we knew we can’t lose to Ateneo, we just can’t,” said Dela Cruz in Filipino.
La Salle’s rivalry with Ateneo was initially reserved to basketball but that also transitioned to volleyball when the two schools met in the finals for six straight times from Season 74 to Season 79.
The Lady Spikers own the championship advantage over Ateneo at 4-2 during that six-year period.
Jolina Dela Cruz feels the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry.
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, April 13, 2019ADVERTISEMENT
“The rivalry is in there, and even in training we’re already thinking about Ateneo and I knew that team won’t just fold,” said Dela Cruz. “We’re thinking that we won’t lose to the Lady Eagles.”
Although the second meeting of the season between the two teams wasn’t for any hardware, it still had an impact on the Final Four positioning.
De La Salle officially clinched a spot in the big dance after improving to a 9-3 record while the league-leading Lady Eagles saw their 10-game winning streak broken as they dropped to 10-2.
Dela Cruz didn’t just put up points; she chalked up her stats in the clutch.
La Salle held on to a slim 17-15 lead in the third set when Dela Cruz decided to put the Lady Eagles at her bidding.
Dela Cruz scored four of La Salle’s next five points that put the Lady Spikers up 22-16.
“Pride was really on the line, I don’t want to lose against them,” said Dela Cruz who dedicated her performance to La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus.
“Coach has been giving his all and we always see him getting tired. Coach Ramil’s working day until night,” said Dela Cruz. “Of course us players do get tired in training but the ones teaching us are also getting fatigued so I give my performance to them.”
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