Alyssa shrugs off scoring race, focuses on

Ateneo's Alyssa Valdez scored 20 points against FEU. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University star Alyssa Valdez has been the Best Scorer in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament for the past three seasons, but she has some catching up to do if she hopes to repeat her feat in Season 78.

At the end of the first round, Valdez ranked fourth in scoring with 113 points, trailing Cherry Rondina of University of Santo Tomas (129), Jema Galanza of Adamson University (118) and Toni Rose Basas of Far Eastern University (116).

However, Valdez – who also has two season MVP and one Finals MVP awards to her name – is not sweating the scoring race and is focusing on the "bigger picture" amid what has been a more difficult season for the Lady Eagles.

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"We're not after anything this season. It's gonna be a hard season for everyone. It's different from last season and Season 76," said Valdez after the Lady Eagles' three-set victory over FEU last Sunday. "Ibang iba talaga ang Season 78."

"We're focusing on the bigger picture siguro (this year)," she stressed.

After going a perfect 16-0 in the Season 77 tournament, the Lady Eagles had already stumbled twice in Season 78. They lost to De La Salle University in disappointing fashion – a defeat that ended a 24-match winning streak – then bowed to University of the Philippines in four sets, in what was their first loss to the Lady Maroons since January 2007.

Back-to-back wins over National University and FEU helped them right the ship, although Valdez does not think they have completely regained their momentum.

"It's hard to say na nakabalik na lahat ang momentum, kasi every game naman, iba ang situation at iba ang nagyayari. That's why we have teammates and coaches to guide us and support us," she said.

Valdez believes the key for the Lady Eagles is to take care of "little details" while still keeping their focus on the bigger picture.

"Kailangan mo pa rin ang maliliit na details para ma-achieve mo ang bigger picture," she explained. "It's not naman siguro na we're focusing on … being the top scorer or anything else."

"Siguro, we're just after the good game lang. Siguro, good game lang muna, and afterward, siguro, it's really a reward kung makakuha kami ng another win, and sana, a championship," she added.

The Lady Eagles will next face Rondina and the UST Tigresses on Saturday.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)

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