UAAP Volleyball

‘Not their time yet’: De Jesus keeps Ateneo respect high amid La Salle 13-game win streak

JR Isaga

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‘Not their time yet’: De Jesus keeps Ateneo respect high amid La Salle 13-game win streak

NO SETS OFF. The Ateneo Blue Eagles and La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus react in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Legendary La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus refuses to belittle rival Ateneo despite his Lady Spikers now holding a 13-game, seven-year winning streak against the Blue Eagles

MANILA, Philippines – No lucky breaks, just hard work.

Amid his legendary 27-year career, 12-time UAAP champion coach Ramil de Jesus was never one to underestimate any opponent of his La Salle Lady Spikers, and he is not keen to start now.

After the defending champions imposed their height and skill for the 13th straight time against longtime rival Ateneo on Saturday, March 2, De Jesus maintained that the Blue Eagles are not a team to be disregarded despite lagging near the bottom of the standings to kick off Season 86.

“I’m not looking at the numbers,” the iconic mentor said in Filipino after La Salle hosted a one-sided block party over Ateneo to the tune of a 25-12, 25-22, 25-19 sweep, extending a near seven-year streak dating back to Season 79.

“Whoever comes before us, we’ll prepare for them, whether it’s Ateneo, UST, FEU. All schools are big games for us. If it just so happened that our winning tradition against Ateneo is already that long, maybe it’s just not their time yet to win against us.”

Indeed, the talent difference was quite obvious from the get-go, but La Salle still made it a point to play its best from buzzer to buzzer.

Thea Gagate led the towering Lady Spikers defense as usual with 15 points on 9 attacks, a season-high 5 blocks, and 1 ace, while Shevana Laput bounced back from a long benching against UST with 13 points.

Reigning MVP Angel Canino, following a 28-point effort in the five-set shock loss to the Golden Tigresses, took a backseat with 10 points as she let her teammates shine with 12 blocks against Ateneo.

“Actually, Ateneo is very promising,” De Jesus continued. “You cannot joke around them. You need to prepare every set and give them respect, even though they are young.”

Sure enough, the Blue Eagles have intriguing pieces despite what is currently another losing season.

Lyann De Guzman, who erupted for 24 points, 18 excellent receptions, and 11 excellent digs in a five-set, reverse sweep of UP, followed up with 15 on 13 spikes, 1 block, and 1 ace against La Salle.

Sobe Buena, though limited to 5 points against the Lady Spikers, still showed big promise with 18 in her last outing.

This iteration of the Blue Eagles is no doubt a far cry from the Ateneo’s best rosters in its title-winning glory years, but the talent is still there.

Maybe it will not happen today or in the next few years, but the Eagles will one day soar again. Even their most heated rivals know it. –

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