Thea Gagate gets redemption with clutch heroics in La Salle title clincher | Inquirer Sports

Thea Gagate gets redemption with clutch heroics in La Salle title clincher

/ 09:04 PM May 15, 2023

La Salle's Thea Gagate after winning the UAAP women's volleyball final. –UAAP PHOTO

La Salle’s Thea Gagate after winning the UAAP women’s volleyball final. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — From committing a service error that clinched National University’s first title in 65 years last season, Thea Gagate completed her redemption tour by putting on the finishing touches in La Salle’s UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball title clincher on Sunday.

With the Lady Bulldogs knocking on the door and trimming the Lady Spikers’ lead to just one, 10-9, in the fifth set, Gagate rose to the occasion and slayed the ghost of her costly service miscue last year to bring La Salle back on top before an ecstatic 20,514 crowd at Mall of Asia Arena.

The 6-foot-2 middle blocker took matters into her own hands as she scored three straight points including back-to-back blocks on NU’s hard-hitting pair Alyssa Solomon and Belle Belen for a 13-9 breather.


Alleiah Malaluan pushed the Lady Spikers to match point with an off-the-block hit before Solomon saved a point. But Gagate finally ended the five-year wait as she nailed the championship-clinching attack.

The third-year Lady Spiker, who won back-to-back 1st Best Middle Blocker awards, attributed her clutch plays to Finals MVP and Best Setter Mars Alba.

“I’m grateful because Ate Mars trusted me and the team. In the previous sets, I wasn’t really able to contribute. I just believed in myself that I can and I need to stay patient. All of us worked hard for every point,” said Gagate in Filipino.


The 22-year-old middle blocker finished with 17 points including five blocks in the 19-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-10 victory, saying she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to win La Salle’s first title since 2018 and 12th overall championship.

“We got our chance so we grabbed this huge opportunity to bring back the championship crown to Taft. I’m grateful because all our sacrifices for the team have paid off,” she said.

La Salle's Thea Gagate. –UAAP PHOTO

La Salle’s Thea Gagate. –UAAP PHOTO

Gagate extended her gratitude to her graduating teammates Alba and Jolina Dela Cruz for guiding them all throughout their playing years in the UAAP.

“I just wanna say thank you to our Ates (big sisters) because they sacrificed and worked hard for us. We all know the hardships they went through and the pressure is high for the seniors,” she said. “But I personally saw their growth as seniors and leaders because their responsibility came all of a sudden because of the pandemic. It wasn’t easy for them.”

La Salle’s core remains intact with Gagate and rookie MVP Angel Canino leading Malaluan, Shevana Laput, Fifi Sharma, and Justine Jazareno.

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TAGS: De La Salle Lady Spikers, Thea Gagate, UAAP Season 85

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