This was one match I was looking forward to.  As much as I am an Ateneo fan, I felt NU had a better chance at beating La Salle.  La Salle has remained unbeaten, while NU was in solo second place, with only one loss against La Salle when they met on the first round.  This was the last game for both squads in the elimination.  I don’t know if it’s just me, I felt that the crowd in Araneta Coliseum that day were 80% La Salle fans… and the other 20% were NU, UST, and Adamson fans or  simply spectators combined.

NU was a huge squad in terms of height.  Watching them on TV, NU players like Urdas, Pablo, Perez and, Aganon (who I think easily stand around 5’9″ or 5’10”) looked “normal” when they stand side by side with the Santiago sisters.

La Salle may not be as imposing in height but they always look invincible as they walk in the court donning the green and white.

NU easily took the first set… and looked poised to foil La Salle’s sweep of the elimination round.  La Salle regrouped.  They recovered in the second set and never looked back.

the very popular La Salle middle blocker, Mika Reyes

A group fan girls seated in the row in front of us had this streamer that they would raise every time Mika Reyes would serve.  It’s irritating if you were watching from behind them.  To say that Reyes is a crowd favorite is an under statement.

Any team who goes against La Salle should not only maintain a certain level of play but should also be mentally and emotionally tough because you will not just face a very talented team but they have a very loud and solid fan base.  You have to be prepared to slug it out with the booing and taunting of the crowd.  It’s part of the game.  Though it sometimes go overboard when fans start name calling some of the players.

Much has been said about La Salle’s captain Aby Marano (other than her hair clips)… both good and bad.  She brought the team together.  When the chips were down, she rallied the troops.  I’m still not a fan of Marano, but you have to respect her leadership and her athletic skills.  When they set the ball for her, most often than not, it’s a sure point for her team.  Also playing on her last year, Marano will be sorely missed by her team.

It was interesting to see the match-up between the two captains since Din Santiago and Marano are best friends.  Santiago who was also in her final year in collegiate volleyball played intense volleyball.

I saw pro photographer Winston Baltazar with his press ID.  Nainggit sa press pass at sa Crumpler Oupost camera bag nya.  How I wish I have a press pass, so I can freely go around the venue and shoot.  Although, some just move around from section to section without any press badge but I felt guilty doing that.   The downside about taking photos during the game, I don’t really get to enjoy the game.  My vision is limited to the focus of my camera.


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