La Salle tries to wrap up fourth UAAP women’s volley title
MANILA, Philippines — Raring to wrap it up, La Salle tries to secure a fourth consecutive crown when it tangles with Ateneo Wednesday in the UAAP women’s volleyball finals at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
“Now that we have the advantage, we’re more motivated to finish it,” said La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus. “If we didn’t relax, we could have won it (Game 2 last Saturday) in straight sets.”
The blockbuster duel is set at 3:30 p.m. with the Lady Spikers hoping to become the first women’s volleyball team to reign for four seasons since Far Eastern University won five straight from 1969.
“We have to work harder,” said De Jesus.
“Ateneo’s power is still there.” The Lady Spikers jumped straight to the finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage as incentive for sweeping all 14 games in the eliminations.
But the scrappy Lady Eagles pulled off a shocker in Game 1 by pinning on the Lady Spikers their first loss in two years with a 17-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-20 win.
Quick to regroup, the Lady Spikers avenged the painful loss that snapped their 30-game win streak with a 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24 victory last Saturday.
Even then, De Jesus thinks the Lady Spikers could have done even better in Game 2 had his star-studded crew led by Abigail Maraño, Ara Galang and Mika Reyes kept their focus.
“We relaxed, they (Lady Eagles) got the third set and gained confidence,” said De Jesus.
Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez, the newly crowned MVP, admits the Lady Eagles got too carried away with their Game 1 win.
“Hopefully in the next game we can make better decisions inside the court,” said Valdez, who’s getting ample support from teammates Ella de Jesus and rookie Michelle Morente.
Mentored by Thai coach Anusorn “Tai” Bundit, the Lady Eagles hope to bring back the solid form that got them through three straight knockout games in the step-ladder semifinals and the finals opener.
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