Coach lauds Blue Eagles composure after tight win
Ateneo poured salt to a fresh wound it previously dealt to rival La Salle as the Blue Eagles drew first blood in their semifinal matchup in the men’s V-League Collegiate Challenge on Wednesday in front of a crowd-filled Paco Arena in Manila.
But the Blue Eagles’ first semis win did not go as smoothly as their first encounter with the Green Spikers, where Ateneo made short work of La Salle with a three-set sweep on Sunday in the final clash of the men’s elimination stage.
“[The Blue Eagles’] composure showed especially from a very bad fourth set and then we were able to close out the fifth set properly, somehow … they were able to refocus and compose themselves to get the win,” Ateneo coach Timothy Sto. Tomas said after his wards took an important step in the playoffs by clinching a 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 14-25, 15-11 triumph.
Neither of the teams had it easy in the neck-and-neck clash with both teams just pacifying each other’s scoring–one team only gaining a single digit advantage over the other for the majority of the game.
However, La Salle, who had two days to plot its revenge against its archrival, led by 11 at one point by shutting down its foe with excellent net defense and floor coverage in the fourth set.
Being on the receiving end of a closeout was an unfamiliar position for Ateneo, but with Sto. Tomas urging his squad to never let up, the Blue Eagles regained their footing to overcome the Taft-based Spikers.