DLSU head coach Ramil de Jesus described it a “roller coaster” type of season, while most supporters and fans exhaled sighs of reliefs after sweeping a tough and hard-hitting Ateneo Lady Eagles team for back-to-back titles. Aside from the sixth straight finals meeting of two of the most popular teams in the eight-school league, let’s look back at the numbers that defined Season 79 for the now 10-time UAAP women’s volleyball champions.
11-3. DLSU’s win-loss record after the elimination rounds of the past two seasons. This year’s losses were courtesy of a three-set sweep in the first round from the UP Lady Maroons, and twin four-set defeats to losing finalists Ateneo Lady Eagles. Unlike last year’s championship run where the team were stretched by both the FEU Lady Tamaraws in the final four and Ateneo in the championship round, respectively, La Salle went a perfect 3-0 in the playoff rounds of Season 79.
20,860. Number of supporters and fans from both schools who witnessed the championship-clinching Game 2; a far lower number than the 22,848 in attendance at the same Smart Araneta Coliseum venue in Game 3 of Season 78.
Firsts in Season 79. Game 2 was the Ateneo Lady Eagle’s first time to lose back-to-back games all season, and also DLSU’s first match to go five sets.
6. Number of players lost from last year’s championship squad: starters Cyd Demecillo, Season 75 co-MVP Ara Galang, and Mika Reyes, key reserves Mika Esperanza and Carol Cerveza (graduation), and Eli Soyud (transferred).
1. Only one player graduated this year, but as head coach Ramil de Jesus would say in the post-game interview: “Iisa lang ang Kim Fajardo.”
20 years, 19 UAAP seasons, 10 championships. RDJ started sitting on the La Salle bench in 1997, 11 years after La Salle entered the UAAP. Aside from this year’s 10th UAAP women’s volleyball crown, RDJ-coached teams have also been to the finals 17 times, for a finals winning percentage of 58.82%.
6. Number of returnees and rookie players this year: Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng (injury), Justine Tiu, and Aduke Ogunsanya and greenhorns Michelle Cobb, Arriane Layug, and Gyra Barroga.
3. Lady Spikers in their last playing year in Season 80: Season 79 MVP Majoy Baron, Season 78 Finals MVP Kim Kianna Dy, and the UAAP’s best libero, Dawn Macandili
78.83% RDJ’s all-time winning percentage in the UAAP (as of the end of Season 79): 242 wins, 65 losses.
29 and 14. La Salle joins FEU (29) and UST (14) as the only UAAP women’s volleyball teams with double-digit number of championships.
7. Season 79 MVP Majoy Baron joins a stellar cast of former Lady Spikers who also hoisted the league’s most prestigious award: Maureen Penetrante (Seasons 66 and 67), Desiree Hernandez (68), Manilla Santos (71), Jacq Alarca (73), Aby Maraño (74 and 75), and Ara Galang (75).
4 of 6. Number of team skill categories where La Salle lorded over this season: setting, receiving, servings, and blocking.