Alyssa Valdez seeks graceful exit

If volleyball is her paintbrush and the UAAP finals is her canvass; then, Alyssa Valdez is the Picasso of UAAP women’s volleyball.

Yes, after five years of dominance, Valdez is out to paint a fitting ending to a magical collegiate career by leading Ateneo de Manila to an improbable task of overcoming a 0-1 deficit in its UAAP women’s volleyball tournament best-of-three finals series against mortal rival La Salle this Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

It’s a mission impossible, but if the Lady Eagles will throw everything at the Lady Spikers, the possibilities are endless.

[quote cite=’Alyssa Valdez, open spiker (Ateneo)’]“Our mindset is to go back to where we believe in; we have to believe in our teammates, our coaches, and our system. We just go back to playing happy, united and heart strong.”

“We really have to give our strongest heart this time.”[/quote]

Final dance for Valdez

If all else fails, Game 2 could be Valdez’s final waltz in the collegiate ranks.

In her first and second years, Ateneo got swept  by a mighty La Salle squad bannered by Aby Marano and Michelle Gumabao. The Lady Eagles turned things around in her third year as they won convincingly before taking the league by storm last year when Ateneo scored a rare sweep and Valdez nailed her second Most Valuable Player award.

This year’s finals will surely be different.

It will serve as the clincher; the fifth and final installment of the storied volleyball saga that swept the entire country like a hurricane.

And Valdez is glad to be in the eye of the storm.

[quote]“Every year, every championship is a different story.”

“I hope this year will be another good story. I hope this will serve as the best chapter of my college career. And I’m ready to do everything to end this chapter on a happy note.”[/quote]

Whatever happens – whether they win or lose – Valdez will be leaving the UAAP with a solid legacy.

[quote]“Although I know that we still need to push ourselves; I also know that whatever happens, I’m already happy and contented with everything that we have achieved.”[/quote]

But at the end of the day, when all the balloons and confetti fell down, Valdez needs no validation: Her five trips to the finals, three MVP crowns and national team experience are already enough to place her on the pedestal of greatness.

Yes, she’s already a winner.

But still, she wants an exit graceful enough for the young guns to build on in the next few years.