Thea Gagate remains confident as La Salle braces for NU response


Thea Gagate La Salle UAAP Finals

Thea Gagate (middle) used her blocking prowess to impact La Salle’s defense in Game 1. —UAAP

Thea Gagate proved huge for La Salle in his Game 1 triumph over National University (NU) in the UAAP women’s volleyball championship duel on Sunday night.

The Lady Spikers’ middle blocker turned in a splendid outing on both ends, putting up 17 points and a match-best four blocks around which the Taft-based squad built its defensive effort to eventually hack out an 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 wins.

But as impeccable as her individual showing was, Gagate said she was merely taking cues from how La Salle refused to bow to the defending champions in the past.

“We were able to get back in the game in other sets. So we really just had to remind ourselves that we can handle them,” Gagate said of the Lady Bulldogs. “We were able to handle them anyway during the first and the second [round].”

La Salle handily beat NU in the elimination round, sweeping the Lady Bulldogs on both occasions.

Gagate and the rest of the Lady Spikers are wary that things are going to be even harder on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City where they shoot for the crown NU denied them last season.

“I’m grateful we were able to unleash our best. But these finals are not over,” she said, a refrain repeated by teammates Jolina dela Cruz and rookie Angel Canino.

“Like she said, we’re going to keep on working,” Dela Cruz said. “The Lord won’t give this to us without the hard work and dedication to win. We just have to keep in our minds that we’ve just won Game 1.”

“Every day, we’ve made winning in the Finals our goal. Finally, we won one, but we won’t stop because there’s still a next game,” chimed in Canino, the hands-down choice for the season’s Rookie of the Year.

“We’re here. The real battle is here.”


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