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Libornio finally enjoyung fruits of five-year work as UE gets maiden UAAP Finals appearance

By Kevin Estrada

PASAY CITY -- For UE head coach Aileen Libornio, the five-year process for her Lady Warriors now bore fruit, after she steer them to their debut appearance in the UAAP Women's basketball finals Saturday noon at the MOA Arena.

"Dun ko nakita yung five years na pinaghirapan namin," she said after their 69-62 triumph over UST that sent them to the championship round for the very first time in the Final Four era.

After losing their twice to beat advantage last Wednesday, she stressed the importance of rebounding back from a painful defeat and tells them how a true Red Warrior fights back.

"Masakit, pero dapat kelangan nating bumangon. Isipin natin yung goal natin kasi limang taon na tayo magkakasama dito. Hindi tayo pwedeng pa-atras, kelangan ang Warriors dapat pasulong," Libornio quoted, as she deflects credit to the players who worked hard to come back from 14 down.

She and graduating guard Lovejoy Sto. Domingo even thanked the members of the press for the much needed exposure for the women's game, as the UAAP remains the highest level for the game.

"Tama ang sinabi ni coach, sa inyo [media] kami kumukuha ng lakas sa mga articles niyo. Kung anong tingin niyo sa amin, kelangang mabago," said this year's All-UAAP team member.

With the aim of reaching the finals now already been achieved after 49 years of long wait, Libornio is not contented on a bridesmaid finish when they will take on the reigning three-peat queens NU in whom they almost snapped the unbeaten run of the Lady Bulldogs in their season opener.

"Handa naman kami palagi. Pero ngayon, mas maghahanda kami ng doble. Mas maganda siguro yung kelangan naming laro. Kasi di kami siyempre kuntento na second lang kami, subukan namin maging champion this year," she said afterwards.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada