Rookie Angel Canino made a good impression in her first experience being part of the storied rivalry between De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University.
The winger churned out big numbers to lead the Lady Spikers to a dominating win over archrival Blue Eagles that propelled them to the Final Four of the Shakey’s Super League Collegiate Pre-Season Championship.
Canino, a product of De La Salle-Zobel high school volleyball program, wreaked havoc on offense, dropping 19 points in La Salle’s emphatic decimation of Ateneo, 25-17, 25-23, 25-10, in the knockout quarterfinal Sunday at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
Although still months away from formally making her debut as a Lady Spiker in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, the former UAAP girls’ volleyball Most Valuable Player caught everyone’s attention with her tenacity and aggressiveness.
Her presence energized La Salle, who played sans veteran Jolina de la Cruz and Baby Jyne Soreno who were both feeling under the weather, for a quick work of the stunned Blue Eagles.
Canino cherished her first Ateneo-La Salle experience made extra special with her memorable performance that led to a lopsided victory.
“It was a great experience for me. I was very eager to win and score points since it’s a rivalry game,” she said.
Canino smashed 16 attacks including hammering down the finishing blows to close all three sets. She also accounted for three of the 18 aces landed by the Lady Spikers.
“I really enjoyed my time inside the court. It was a huge opportunity for me to experience the magic of this rivalry,” Canino said.
Canino also enjoyed the feel of the atmosphere surrounding the rivalry.
“My heart is overjoyed with our supporters cheering us on. But inside the court, we’re really focused,” she said.
La Salle head coach Noel Orcullo, who is calling the shots for Ramil de Jesus in the tournament, showered praises on Canino.
“That kid, even before, will give everything she could give to help her team. She’ll go all-out each time she’s inside the court. That kid is a fighter,” Orcullo said of Canino, who in 2018 led the Junior Lady Spikers in toppling powerhouse Nazareth School of National University in the UAAP girls’ championship.
Canino was happy with her contributions to the victory but the 19-year-old hitter admitted that she still has a lot to improve on.
“Of course, I’m proud of my performance but there’s still room for improvement. There are things that I still need to improve on. For me, learning never stops,” she said.
Up next for Canino and the Lady Spikers in the do-or-die semifinal on Friday is Adamson University.
La Salle will enter the court extra motivated for payback against the same team that handed the squad’s only loss so far in the tournament.
“Definitely, we’ll go all-out to get back at them,” Canino said.