It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Valdez, PH reduced to tears as rally falls short vs. Taipei

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PH team captain Alyssa Valdez’s patented jolly self was turned to sober crying moment on Tuesday after the Philippines lost to Chinese Taipei, 25-21, 18-25, 12-25, 19-25, in the Asian Under 23 tournament.

Valdez, who had to battle triple Taipei blockers all-game long but still scored a game-high 16 points, was seen crying by Twitter user @iamrench.

“Umiiyak si Alyssa. Don’t cry. Ginawa mo lahat. Win or lose andito kami lahat, idol,” @iamrench tweeted.

Valdez, the back-to-back UAAP MVP, had a really tough night, converting only 15 out of her 45 attack attempts against the rock-solid Taipei defense. The Phenom was even able to give the Philippines a 16-14 fourth set lead with an emphatic attack, but it went downhill from there with controversial net touch errors vs. the Philippines.

“Umiiyak pa din si Ly palabas. Ramdam na ramdam mo yung frustration niya talaga,” @iamrench added.

Setter Julia Morado had her best game in the tournament thus far with seven points on top of her 19 excellent sets. Of those seven, five came from service aces. Morado’s three straight service aces in the fourth set actually gave PH a 12-10 lead.

Jaja Santiago and Gretchel Soltones had eight and seven points, respectively, while UAAP Rookie of the Year EJ Laure fired four points off the bench.

Coach Gorayeb also fought back tears in the post-game press conference largely because of the crucial net touch calls which were called because the net, as a result of a spike or a block, touched the arms of the PH players, particularly Laure.

“Okay, may touch net, pero touch net na ‘yung kamay tumama sa net. Pero may palo na tumama sa net na ‘yung net ang tumama sa kamay ng blocker. Hindi mo puwedeng tawagan ng touch net ‘yun. I’m surprised (sa tawag). La kaming magagawa,” Gorayeb said.

“Naappreciate ko nalang efforts ng mga bata. We were almost there,” Gorayeb added.

Moreover, the Philippines’ 35 errors certainly didn’t help its upset bid.

Gorayeb, however, clarified that this team formed a month ago and only trained in stretches for three weeks won’t go out without a fight in its next assignment: the reigning world champions China.

“Mas gusto natin mas malalakas na kalaban kasi matututo tayo. Tatapang tayo,” Gorayeb said in closing. (Jen Soltano)