Lyka De Leon steps up as La Salle’s starting libero in UAAP title defense

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Lyka De Leon steps up as La Salle�s starting libero in UAAP title defense
Lyka De Leon of the Lady Spikers
UAAP Media Bureau

(Edited 5:21 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines – Sophomore player Lyka De Leon is already filling big shoes, taking on role of starting libero for defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers in UAAP Season 86.

Following the surprise exit of Justine Jazareno after their title run in Season 85, De Leon was thrust into the spotlight in a highly competitive season.

In just her second game, though, De Leon proved to be a significant asset for Ramil de Jesus and the DLSU coaching staff, clinching Player of the Game honors with 16 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions in La Salle’s three-set win over the FEU Lady Tamaraws on Wednesday.

After the game, De Leon bared her surprising journey from second stringer to key stalwart.

“With the sudden departure ni Ate [Justine Jazareno], parang out of the blue, naforce ako mag-step up. At first, parang nahirapan po talaga ako pero ginabayan naman po ako ng coaches, sinupportahan ako ng mga teammates ko na kaya ko naman daw,” said De Leon. 

“Onti-onti, I’ll get there,” she continued.

Against a pesky FEU side, De Leon’s defense proved pivotal, especially in a close third set where they needed to fend off the Lady Tamaraws, 25-22, to complete the sweep.

With the season still early, the defensive specialist vowed to continue improving and avoid complacency as they are still far from their goals.

“Good thing po na nabubuild ko na yung confidence and yung character ko pero, overall, hindi pa po ako super satisfied how I performed today,” she said.

“Marami pa pong lapses. As a team, parang, hindi po kami satisfied by winning two games. We have bigger goals than this.”

De Leon and the rest of the Lady Spikers face their next challenge on Sunday, February 25, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay against the UST Golden Tigresses.

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