UAAP volleyball: Ramil de Jesus sees promise in rebuilding Ateneo

La Salle Ramil de Jesus UAAP

La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — The defending champion La Salle may have swept Ateneo in their first-round duel in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament but coach Ramil De Jesus sees the Blue Eagles’ potential under new tactician Sergio Veloso.

“Actually, their team is very promising and you can’t take them lightly. You need to prepare for them in every set and show them respect even though they’re a young team,” said De Jesus in Filipino after their 25-12, 25-22, 25-19 win over Ateneo on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.

La Salle won its 13 straight matches against Ateneo since the last loss to its rival dating back to Season 79. But the winning streak was the farthest from  De Jesus’ mind heading into the match-up against the Blue Eagles.

SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 volleyball first round

“I wasn’t looking at the record. Facing every school is a big game,” said the 12-time UAAP champion coach. “If it just so happen that we have this long winning tradition over Ateneo, maybe it’s just because it’s not the time for them to win against us.”

Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament. –UAAP PHOTO

The Lady Spikers bounced back from a tough five-set loss to the UST Golden Tigresses last week, needing to stave off the gritty Blue Eagles before regaining their winning ways.

“I felt like the timing of our blocking was disorganized in our game against UST. We weren’t able to maximize our strengths. Our middle blocker was limited. Now, I’m happy that we were able to somehow maximize our middles,” said De Jesus with Thea Gagate finishing 15 points including five blocks.

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“We had a lot of errors in the second set and Ateneo was able to pull ahead. We weren’t able to sustain what we were doing right until the score became close. Good thing is that we’re able to survive until the end of the second set.”

La Salle also banked on Shevana Laput, Angel Canino, and setter Julia Coronel to improve to a 3-1 record tied with National University in second place.

De Jesus wants his wards to shift their focus on the University of the East on Wednesday next week and treat Casiey Dongallo and the Lady Warriors with the same respect. 

“They’re also a very promising team because most of them have known each other since highschool,” he said. “You can’t take than team lightly so we’re giving them the same respect as we do with teams like Ateneo and UST. We need to prepare.”