Ateneo-La Salle finals rematch? | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Ateneo-La Salle finals rematch?

/ 02:29 AM November 28, 2014

LAST year, UAAP women’s volleyball was shaken up dramatically with Ateneo finally winning the title after two previous tries.

Two years before Ateneo’s ascent, La Salle was dominant, denying the Katipunan six a championship twice.  If not for Ateneo’s dramatic wins in the postseason last year, it could have been a four-peat for the Taft Avenue side.

The current season is young and just beginning to perk up.  La Salle and Ateneo have already won their first two games while perennial powers Adamson and National Univeristy are still trying to establish their own rhythms.

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But it does look like even from early on that the Lady Eagles and the Spikers are due to meet again in the postseason.

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For one, Ateneo and La Salle’s lineups are virtual holdovers from last year’s teams. Ateneo is intact with its core unit of Alyssa Valdez, Amy Ahomiro, Denden Lazaro, Mich Morente and Jia Morado while La Salle still has Mika Reyes, Desiree Cheng, Ara Galang and Kim Fajardo.  Missing from La Salle will be Abby Maraño, whose leadership and intensity were vital ammo for the Lady Spikers’game.

La Salle and Ateneo’s edge is having a nucleus of reliable scorers and defenders who have sufficient game experience in the UAAP pressure tank. They are the barometers for the tournament where the other contenders will have to play catch-up or hope that either La Salle or Ateneo slip into a funk and have an awful volleyball day when they face them.

NU is still reeling from the graduation of Dindin Santiago and Mina Aganon, two valuable sources of points.  Jaja Santiago and Myla Pablo have the experience but need the help of at least one more scorer for the team to be as lethal as last year.

Adamson has lost the versatile Sheila Pineda but continues to be a defensive force in the league.

The question for Adamson though is where will they get a generous amount of production to match their defense?  The development of great scorers just doesn’t happen overnight and Adamson may need some time and scouting to find those additional point providers.

The other teams are rebuilding and could take some time before they reap dividends.  Far Eastern University and University of Santo Tomas are the perennial elite teams through the years but are undergoing transformation with new players and systems.  University of the East and the University of the Philippines meanwhile really need more prolific players that can be found only through an active if not aggressive recruitment program.

To go deep into the tournament, the six other contenders must win consistently including victories over the favorites, La Salle and Ateneo.  For now, it looks like the archrivals will finish at the top of the standings of the classification and will enjoy the twice to beat advantage given the top finishers.  The rest of the field needs a stunner of a season similar to Ateneo’s miraculous ascent last year to shake up the current balance of power.

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TAGS: Adamson, Ateneo, La Salle, rematch

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