UAAP: Jolina Dela Cruz making her impact for La Salle beyond scoring
MANILA, Philippines — More than just offense, Jolina Dela Cruz insists that her focus is to contribute in other ways when La Salle tries to capture the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball championship in Finals Game 2 on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite being limited to just six points in the series opener, Dela Cruz continued to display her steady floor defense and leadership as the Lady Spikers drew first blood with come-from-behind 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory over the National University Lady Bulldogs last week at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I don’t need to fight for points because I know my strength and the coaches know what I’m capable of. Whichever way I can help the team best, that’s what I’ll do,” said Dela Cruz in Filipino.
Dela Cruz lauded her teammates, bannered by super rookie Angel Canino and Thea Gagate, for stepping up and fighting back from a 1-2 deficit to steal Game 1 and inch closer to the school’s 12th overall title.
“I’m super grateful to my teammates. Their confidence never wavered and they fought to the end,” she added.
The senior spiker, who joined La Salle in 2019, admitted that she and fellow graduating player Mars Alba feel the pressure to end La Salle’s five-year championship drought.
“For me and Marionne, there is a pressure. But we didn’t feel carrying any burden because our teammates are always there to help us,” Dela Cruz said in Filipino. “That’s the strength of our team whenever someone is struggling, she will try to contribute in other ways and our teammates are always there to pick up when someone’s struggling.”
While they are one win away from victory, Dela Cruz and the Lady Spikers are not taking the next game lightly.
“We won’t our Game 1 win to get into our heads. It’s just the first game and we will continue to work hard until we get it in Game 2,” she said.