Final Four exit last season adds fuel to La Salle drive
MANILA, Philippines—De La Salle’s star sophomore Jolina dela Cruz said the team is extra motivated this UAAP Season 82 to regain the crown.
And that added fire was obvious in the Lady Spikers as they kicked off their revenge tour with a stunning four-set win over rival and defending champion Ateneo.
Dela Cruz said La Salle’s painful exit at the hands of University of Santo Tomas in Season 81’s Final Four has lit up a fire in them to redeem themselves.
“Our motivation runs deep and we really want to get back up from that loss last year,” said dela Cruz in Filipino. “This is for coach Ramil (De Jesus) because he’s not used to being booted out of the Final Four.”
“La Salle is written in front of our jersey so we really cannot not reach the finals at least.”
The Lady Spikers were the reigning three-peat champions in Season 81 but they failed to keep the title after losing twice to the Golden Tigresses in the second seed playoff and the Final Four.
Dela Cruz, who was regarded as one of the best opposite spikers in 2019, said she has to be more vocal to help her team get to the title picture and also lighten the burden of seniors Tin Tiamzon and Aduke Ogunsanya in leading the squad.
“I think I want to lessen the work of my seniors because they’re the ones feeling the most pressure so in my part I have to take up some responsibility,” said dela Cruz.
“Coach Ramil is also training Marrione (Alba) and I to be more vocal because were sophomores now. It’s as if he’s training us to be the leaders next year.”