Sergio Veloso eyes Final Four stint for Ateneo in his UAAP debut

Sergio Veloso targets Final Four stint for Ateneo in his UAAP coaching debut

/ 08:00 PM February 15, 2024

Ateneo coach Sergio Veloso UAAP

Ateneo coach Sergio Veloso during the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball press conference. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — Despite fielding a rebuilding roster, new Ateneo coach Sergio Veloso is determined to bring back the Blue Eagles to the Final Four in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament.

“It’s my first season and I introduced a little different skills, different system, and I’m so happy because the players understand this and my feeling, the team can improve to another level,” said the Brazilian coach, who makes his debut on Saturday against the new-look University of the East.

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“Our target is to [be] in the Top Four.”

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SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball first round

The Philippine men’s volleyball team coach, who replaced Oliver Almadro, is excited to coach in the UAAP after witnessing the Season 85 finals last year between defending champion La Salle and National University in the women’s division and the Bulldogs and UST Golden Spikers in men’s play.

Veloso also said he is pleased with their preparation, and he expects his Blue Eagles to show their improvements from preseason tournaments in the Shakey’s Super League and Akari Invitational Cup come the new season.

“Our first target is we need to play better or best, no matter if you win or not. Our mentality now in Ateneo is every match, you can win or the opponents win but every time, you can learn,” the new Ateneo coach said.

READ: UAAP: Rebuilding Ateneo heading into new season with stronger bond

“All the time, take a fun time inside the court, play your best, show up for your community and your fans and try to do your best. When you do this, everybody likes to see you play. It’s good for Ateneo volleyball.”

After missing the Final Four for the first time in 14 years last Season 85, the Blue Eagles lost their leaders and go-to scorers Faith Nisperos and Vanie Gandler, who are both thriving in the PVL.

Veloso, though, is optimistic with his players led by holdovers AC Miner, Lyann De Guzman, Geezel Tsunashima, Yvana Sulit, and libero Roma Mae Doromal as well as rookie setter Katherine Cortez from Bacolod Tay Tung High School.

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“I introduced a special rule about no matter for me, if you’re senior or freshman, if you have a good experience or a beginner. What you need to do is to show that in the practice and perform in the match,” Veloso said.

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“I try to prepare the team not only from first to seventh player but all players. I like it when players have a strong mind and never give up, no matter the score, no matter if you win a set or not. Try to play your best every time and if you receive the opportunity, keep it.“

TAGS: Ateneo Blue Eagles, Sergio Veloso, UAAP Season 86

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