Angel Canino savors championship feeling anew in ‘dream come true’ – rezal404
MANILA, Philippines — Angel Canino was just a kid from Bacolod who used to dream of playing in the UAAP and feeling the thrill of a championship before emerging as the league’s second rookie MVP and La Salle’s game-changer.
Canino, the daughter of former men’s national team player-turned-La Salle coaching staff Rodel, took the first step towards her UAAP dream when she transferred from Bacolod Tay Tung High School to La Salle-Zobel.
The former Palarong Pambansa MVP made an immediate impact on the La Salle high school team under coach Tina Salak, leading it to a historic UAAP Season 81 title and ending the four-year reign of Bella Belen and the Nazareth School Lady Bullpups in 2018 — the same year the Lady Spikers completed a ‘three-peat’ behind the trio of Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, and Dawn Macandili.
Five years later, the 19-year-old Canino realized her childhood dream as she helped bring back glory to La Salle and dethroned National University with an amazing come-from-behind 19-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25- 17, 15-10 victory in the Season 85 Finals Game 2 on Sunday in front of 20,514 fans at Mall of Asia Arena.
“This means [all] my life, this is what I’ve been working hard for. It has always been my dream to play in the UAAP and become champion. Canino told INQUIRER Sports. “I remember wondering what it feels like to play and win the title? When you couldn’t help by crying with how much you’ve worked hard in that game?”
The 5-foot-11 outside spiker got all her answers, as she2 unleashed 19 points including six aces to lift La Salle from two sets down before her teammate Thea Gagate delivered the killer blows in the fifth set to complete a series sweep of NU and End the five-year agony of the Ramil De Jesus-coached squad.
Canino shed tears rushing to her parents after she accomplished one of the best season performances by a rookie in league history as the outside spiker donning jersey No.12 delivered La Salle’s 12th title.
“I felt everything. I was really overwhelmed, very happy on the inside that finally my dream has become reality,” she said.
Right in her first collegiate season, Canino took the Lady Spikers to greater heights and emerged as the league’s second rookie Most Valuable Player after rival Belen achieved the feat last year.
But more than her historic night of becoming the Season MVP and Rookie of the Year as well as the 2nd Best Outside Spiker, La Salle’s championship trophy was her biggest achievement.
“The real fight is for the championship. I’m happy I got all those awards, but that’s all for the team, not for me,” she said.
Her first championship in college brought back the feeling when she and the La Salle Zobel team ended the reign of Nazareth School five years ago.
But her first championship in the senior ranks was sweeter as Canino believes the collegiate division is the “real battle” where every member and every factor for the team is much more important.
It was a rookie year to remember for Canino after also powering the Lady Spikers to 16 wins of their 17 games including the Final Four against UST and a total of four wins against runner-up NU this season.
But she knows he’s just getting started as she promises to defend the title in her next seasons.
“Our pride is at stake here, and we will hold on to it to keep up what we started. We won’t want to lose our winning mentality, determination and dedication to reach our dreams and become champions again,” Canino said with a smile.
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