By: Tony Lebron Atayde, Jr.
The UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball tournament was probably the most competitive ever. There were 6 teams vying for the Final 4. The seedings were finalized on the last playing week of the tourney.
UP started strong, even beating eventual champions DLSU, early in the season. As the season went on, they lost steam and could not win when they had to. NU had a rollercoaster season, even handing eventual runner-up Ateneo their only 2 losses. They also peaked too soon and could not consistently maintain their momentum.
#3FEU and #4UST barged into the Final 4 against #1 Ateneo and #2 La Salle respectively. The top seeds finished off their matches quickly and set up “The Dream Finals”.
This would be the 6th straight Finals for the archrivals, with DLSU taking a 3-2 advantage as well as being the defending champions. Ateneo beat La Salle twice in the elimination round with their talented players and deep bench.
The Finals lived up to the hype. DLSU and ADMU went at it in 2 beautiful games. Most everyone who enjoys volleyball knows the story. DLSU DEFENDS ITS CHAMPIONSHIP!
There were a lot of players who brought their games to another level. Rondina, Morado, Pons, Palma, Molde, Maraguinot, Galanza, Adorador, to name a few.
From Baron, Cheng, Dy, Macandili, Tiamzon and Agunsanya, the Lady Spikers stepped up as a team.. Yet the one who proved to be the difference in winning the Championship was Kim A. Fajardo or KAF as she is popularly known.
Kim came to DLSU in 2012 from the UST high school team. She played alongside her future volleyball foe, Alyssa Valdes, who went to ADMU for college. Personally, I believe that that’s where the similarity ends. Valdes ended up being an intense high flying player, Fajardo has become a laid back calculating player.
KAF, may not be the fastest, strongest or tallest player but she more than makes up for it with her knowledge of even the most minuscule facets of the game. She works hard at making her teammates better with her excellent sets. She has a serve which most often goes where she wills it. She scores when needed, especially with her soft unexpected tosses that seem to land where opponents do not expect. Her results come with the most minimal number of moves which is why she can play 5 sets with a lot to spare.
Kim was not sure of coming back to DLSU for her 5th year. When she decided to come back, she was determined to lead the Lady Spikers to a repeat. The most poignant image of this last championship was when an emotional Coach Ramil de Jesus rushed to Kim immediately after the Lady Spikers won the crown.
KAF leaves behind many achievements in her UAAP career. She is a 3 time champion in volleyball, a champion in beach volleyball and a multitude of individual awards, including a Lasallian Sports Achievement Award. Kim Fajardo will be a hard act to follow. Yet even with all these, she remains a humble and soft spoken person.
Her future looks even brighter as she has brought her talents to the semi pro league. She won a championship with F2 Logistics. She is also a member of the Philippine team who will participate in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in Kazakhstan from May 23 to 30.
Kim Fajardo is the only graduating Lady Spiker but she will leave big shoes to fill. Players like her are a coach’s dream. She now joins the list of Lasallians sports legends.
Thank you KAF for your 5 years of Lasallian ANIMO!