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La Salle's Paneng Mercado nearly steals the show in 'Battle of the Rivals'

MANILA, Philippines – Of all the former De La Salle University stars that suited up in the "Battle of the Rivals" last Sunday, it was Stephanie Mercado who was perhaps most unfamiliar to the volleyball fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Longtime viewers of the sport will remember Mercado as a part of La Salle's title teams in Seasons 71 and 73, but she missed the epic rise of volleyball that was partially brought about by La Salle's rivalry with Ateneo de Manila University in the UAAP.

Paneng Mercado (4) celebrates with Aby Marano during the Battle of the Rivals. Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports
It was not until Sunday's charity match that Mercado again wore La Salle threads and faced off against their archrivals, but "Paneng" made sure to show fans exactly what she is capable of as she nearly stole the show in the "Battle of the Rivals."

The daughter of Lydia de Vega, Asia's fastest woman, Mercado fired 13 points built on 11 attacks, showcasing her leaping ability and body control on her way to scoring off sharp spikes.

The Lady Spikers bowed to the Lady Eagles, 25-17, 25-21, 19-25, 21-25, 15-13, but it was undeniable that the 28-year-old Mercado gained a legion of new fans with her performance.

"Masaya, sobrang saya na after UAAP, ngayon ko na lang ulit na-experience 'yung ganitong suporta from the La Sallian community," said Mercado, who now sees action for Cignal HD in the Philippine Superliga.

Source: http://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/07/17/17/la-salles-paneng-mercado-nearly-steals-the-show-in-battle-of-the-rivals

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