With former Asian sprint queen Lydia de Vega watching in the stands, an inspired Stephanie Mercado gave all her best to help La Salle remain unbeaten.
The Lady Spikers steamrolled to a 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 victory over University of the East and extend their winning run to six games at the resumption of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Despite missing her team’s Christmas break training to be with her family following the death of her grandfather Francisco ‘Tatang’ de Vega, Mercado was still at her usual form, finishing with six points before sitting out the third set.
“Sobrang inspired na maglaro dahil nanonood ang mommy ko ng live sa venue. Lagi siyang nanonood ng mga games ko sa live streaming and I’m very happy,” said Mercado, who is in her final season for La Salle.
Before returning today to Singapore to resume her teaching job, de Vega found time to watch Mercado in person for the first – and the last time this season.
“Sinabi ng mom ko to just play my game, ayaw kong ma-down ako especially sa pinagdaanan namin. I’m happy that I was able to perform well,” said Mercado.
Abigail Maraño finished with 14 markers while Jacq Alarca had 11 points for the Lady Spikers. Maraño and Alarca combined six of La Salle’s 11 blocks.
The Lady Spikers drew seven hits from Michelle Gumabao and five from team captain Cha Cruz, while libero Melissa Gohing collected 13 digs.
“We are ready against UST, konting fine-tuning na lamang ang kailangan sa laro namin. By that time, nasa hustong kondisyon na si Paneng (Mercado),” said La Salle mentor Ramil de Jesus. The Lady Spikers and the Tigresses collide in the rematch of last season’s finals on Wednesday.
Kite Rosale had 13 points while Jimberly Dizon added six hits for the Lady Warriors. UE, which dropped its four matches, capped the first round with a 2-5 record.