When the dust cleared in Game 2 of the Shakey’s Super League National Invitational Finals on Saturday, it wasn’t clear anymore if La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo was still talking about championship rival Adamson. It felt like he was sounding off to the rest of the UAAP field.
“[W]e have to show that we are the defending UAAP champions,” said Orcullo. “We have to prove to them that we won’t just surrender the championship.”
Shevana Laput didn’t care who Orcullo was trying to impress. She just heeded the call.
Laput had a team-best 18 points as La Salle forged a rubber match for the crown by hammering Adamson, 25-23, 25-12, 25-18, at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, where she later voiced her intention to be an even more productive performer for the Lady Spikers’ title defense in the UAAP. “You know, I’ve been playing well but there’s always room for improvement,” the incoming sophomore opposite spiker told the Inquirer. “I know I can do so much better. This is a preseason tournament so this is where developing character, developing techniques [happens] and I guess [figuring out] what I need to work on. I know my offense has been really good but there’s always defense that’s my downside so I need to work on that.”
Laput’s performance in Game 2 of the title clash rejuvenated La Salle after a frustrating Game 1 defeat that featured a controversial call and gave the young standout another day to showcase her ability to be one of the key cogs in La Salle’s title defense next season.
“By that time, I’m gonna get my defense down. That’s for sure, I’ll definitely do that. And I mean lately, you can see my tipping which has been pretty sick,” Laput said.
If she needs to learn more about playing defense, she can watch Game 2 again and figure out how La Salle held Adamson star Lucille Almonte to just six points after exploding for 24 in Game 1.
Or have a chat with teammate and middle blocker Amie Provido, who was also instrumental in the Game 2 win with 13 points.
Then maybe she can provide glimpses of how she will flesh out a defensive role to complement her scoring when La Salle and Adamson battle for the title in a do-or-die match on Sunday.
“The winner mindset, the positive mindset, giving it our all and playing with energy and with confidence,” Laput said about Game 3.
If the Lady Spikers succeed, Laput hopes to carry over those traits to the next UAAP season.
“I’m just looking forward to how our team plays. I got here just before UAAP season this year. But being with our team more and developing the connections I feel like we’ll play really well and there’s new people coming in. There’s a new captain, new setter. It’s gonna be exciting. I’m very excited,” she said.
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