(Header Photo: The Ateneo Lady Eagles huddle during their game against Adamson University)
MANILA, Philippines – Fierce rivals DLSU Lady Archers and ADMU Lady Eagles clinched twice-to-beat seeds in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament after wins over the UE Lady Warriors and AdU Lady Falcons respectively last Saturday, April 2 at the MOA Arena.
All four teams started the next half of the tournament’s second round after coming from the Holy Week break. Both DLSU and ADMU remain undefeated in the second round and are tied for top spot with 10-2 standings.
AdU (3-9) and UE (0-12) remain winless in the second round. UE are currently on a 57 game losing streak dating back to Season 74 while AdU are yet to have win under interim manager Domingo Custodio, who took over after Sherwin Meneses resigned last March 10.
Easy Win For La Salle
(Lady Archers after a huddle before the third set)
DLSU dominated UE in the early game, ending the match in three straight sets (25-16, 25-17, 25-11) with 32 spikes to the Lady Warriors’ 10. Kim Dy finished as best scorer with 14 points (8 spikes, 3 blocks, 3 aces).
Ara Galang added to DLSU’s tally with 12 points, 9 of them spike points, as well as captain Kim Fajardo who garnered 17 excellent sets of DLSU’s 20. Shaya Adorador finished as UE’s top scorer with 7 points, including UE’s 2 aces.
(Coach Ramil de Jesus in the post-match conference)
DLSU coach Ramil de Jesus shared the advice he gave to the team as they prepare for the final games in a post-match conference: “Sinasabi ko lang sa mga bata na mas maganda na daanan mo lahat ng opponent, na talunin, para ma-build yung confidence for semis (I just told them that it was better to get past all the opponents, to beat them, to build confidence for the semis)”.
De Jesus also commented on ADMU’s motivation as their challenger for the top spot, “Ateneo yan eh”.
ADMU’s coach Tai Bundit, after DLSU’s win and before they went against the Lady Falcons, said that they will “just do their best and win, that’s all”.
Early Set Pushes Not Enough for Adamson
AdU started each set solid and did not make it an easy game for the back-to-back defending champions, who eventually won in three straight sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-18) with 40-18 spikes.
Alyssa Valdez finished as best scorer with 16 spike points, and Amy Ahomiro was announced player of the game with her 15 points (9/14 spikes, 4 blocks).
(Alyssa Valdez scores after a long rally with Adamson)
Julia Morado contributed to Ateneo’s win by carrying out their 32 excellent sets, while up-and-coming player Jhoana Maraguinot finished with 12 points (2 blocks, 2 aces).
Lady Falcons captain Mylene Paat was AdU’s top scorer with 9 points (5 spikes, 4 blocks), followed by Erika Alkuino with 8 points (5 spikes, 3 aces).
“Not Super Okay Game”
(Alyssa Valdez in the post-match conference)
Valdez, in a post-match conference (see video of interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuDtmOez_V4) , commented that her last ever match against Adamson was a “not super okay game”, mentioning her team’s errors and miscommunication.
“It’s been like 5 years since I’ve [first] played with Adamson, and they’re really giving us a hard time, their defense is super solid… ang bilis, naka-graduate na din ako sa Adamson (It’s so fast, I’ve finally graduated from Adamson)”, said the Lady Eagles captain.
She also hopes to play against them in the future after the UAAP: “I hope na maging teammates kami iba sa kanila (I hope to be teammates with some of them). We’re looking forward for the brighter career of everyone in Adamson”.
The reigning MVP also thanked the entire team and Lady Falcons coaches she had faced in her career: “Congratulations to Adamson as well, they gave us good fights every game since Day 1, kahit sa Shakey’s V-League”.
Last 2 Games
With only 2 games remaining in the second round, one of them against DLSU, Valdez shared how they would be handling the next few weeks: “We think one game at a time, it’s going to be a long journey pa… meron pang another round, another chapter.”
(Coach Tai Bundit watches as the Lady Eagles meditate before the third set)
“We have to stay focused, eyes on the goal… dadating din tayo sa semis… kahit dalawang games na lang, important games pa rin (we will arrive at the semis… even if there’s only two games left, they are still important games). Every game is important this season”, adds Valdez as the fight for the Top 4 comes to a close.
The Lady Eagles will play the Lady Archers on Sunday, April 10 at the MOA Arena, in what may be the decider for who tops the play-off round. Both teams are on their way to their seventh and eighth Final Four appearance, respectively.