Setters show way as Ateneo, Arellano drop Shakey’s foes
Ateneo rookie setter Katherine Cortez’s decision-making opened the doors for a successful Blue Eagles debut in the Shakey’s Super League Preseason championship on Sunday, as she fit seamlessly into an overhauled system under new coach Sergio Veloso.
And Mapua University’s’ defensive system was a good barometer for testing Veloso’s new program with the Blue Eagles needing to show everything they learned from their new mentor in dealing the Lady Cardinals’ their second consecutive loss after an extended third frame in the Pool D encounter, 25-23, 25-20, 35-33, at FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Cortez’s ball distribution was a key factor in destabilizing the tight Mapua defense. The Bacolod Tay Tung High School unlocked all her hitters, leading to solid contributions from Lyann de Guzman with 14 points, Sophia Buena and national team middle blocker AC Miner with 11 each, and Gena Hora, 10.
“I trusted my teammates then coach Sergio was reminding me to execute what we did in training,” she said after delivering 21 excellent sets and confidence to her teammates in Ateneo’s opening game win.
Meanwhile, Arellano University’s small in-game adjustments paid off in the end as it bolstered its playoff drive after stopping Lyceum’s unbeaten run, 25-22, 17-25, 25-21, 25-17, in the other game. Gathering everything they had to pull away from a hard-fighting Lady Pirates, the Lady Chiefs finished their elimination campaign strong with a 2-1 (win-loss) card in Pool B ahead of Adamson University.
“Our [win] today (Sunday) was really important because if we lost in this game, we risked losing the top two spot. Now we have the hope to extend our fight,” setter Donnalyn Paralejas said.
“Our performance was a result of us following whatever our coaches say because they are the ones who see how we’re playing as well as the opponent’s [movements],” Paralejas added after loading up her teammates with 22 excellent sets. INQ