Surreal moment for Mars Alba as she leaves La Salle a UAAP champion
MANILA, Philippines—Mars Alba was determined to leave La Salle as a champion.
In UAAP Season 85, Alba had her dream fulfilled and more as the Lady Spikers ended their five-year championship drought by dethroning National University in a series where she was named the Finals’ Most Valuable Player.
Alba started her collegiate career with a Final Four exit in Season 81 last 2019 followed by a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic before a heartbreaking loss to NU last year.
The graduating setter saved the best for last as she earned her first championship and emerged as Finals MVP in La Salle’s come-from-behind 19-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-10 victory over NU in Game 2 before 20,514 fans for their 12th championship.
“I promised myself that I won’t graduate until I win the championship with La Salle,” Alba said in Filipino after dishing out 16 excellent sets and scoring two points.
“That was our goal (me and Jolina dela Cruz), after our third and second-place finishes. We thought maybe they were waiting for our final year before we become champions.
The La Salle captain, who also became the first La Sallian to earn the Best Setter since Kim Fajardo won the award in Seasons 78 and 79, didn’t expect all her individual awards as she deflected the credit to her teammates and coach Ramil de Jesus and his staff.
“I didn’t expect because my performance wasn’t that great. But I’m grateful for my teammates’ help, especially the coaches. It’s a very happy and fulfilling feeling,” Alba said.
“I’m grateful for the Lord because if not for him, we wouldn’t be here. We worked really hard to get this goal. It’s very overwhelming for me and Jolinba because we’re the only ones left here as seniors.”
WATCH: Mars Alba and Jolina Dela Cruz on finally winning a title. #UAAPSeason85 | @LanceAgcaoilINQ pic.twitter.com/N3BjnkRWvD
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) May 14, 2023
Although she and Dela Cruz already expressed that this will be their final year, both seniors can still return but they will cherish their sweet championship first before plotting their next move.
“We will enjoy this win first. We’re still on cloud nine. I feel like everything is just a dream, I still can’t believe we’re here,” Alba said.
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