Ateneo’s first-year coach Oliver Almadro is optimistic the Lady Eagles will bounce back in the UAAP women’s volleyball finals series after yielding Game 1 last Saturday against University of Santo Tomas.
Almadro, who replaced Thai mentor Tai Bundit this season, refused to dwell on their defeat but offered a single line on his way out of the dugout of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We still believe,” said Almadro.
The Lady Eagles, who seek to reclaim the throne after failing over the last three years, succumbed to the more energized Tigresses, 25-17, 25-16, 25-20.
It was Ateneo’s first loss to UST in their last 16 meetings, and Almadro’s faith faces another severe test.
Contributing to that defeat was seeing the Lady Eagles’ defensive wall collapse against the hard-hitting spikers of the Tigresses led by Season Most Valuable Player Sisi Rondina and Rookie of the Year Eya Laure.
The duo combined for 29 of the team’s 46 kills.
Ateneo also gave up 10 aces and made only one courtesy of Maddie Madayag.
Meanwhile, UST is careful not spark any premature celebration as it aims to go all-out in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Paninindigan na namin to. Yung mga UST supporters, andyan sila through ups and downs. Kaya dapat huwag din kaming mawawala sa Game 2 (The UST supporters have been there for us through ups and downs; we should also not lose sight of our goals),” said Rondina as she seeks a glorious exit on her collegiate career.
“Walang magiging kampante sa amin after this win. Tamang mindset lang (We shouldn’t get complacent after this win; we just need the right mindset),” added Laure.
A Game 2 win for UST would end its nine-year title drought while a loss would arrange a winner-take-all on March 18 at the same venue.
Source: Manila Bulletin