UAAP Volleyball

No pushovers: Ateneo holds head high after scaring UAAP leader UST in 2nd 5-set loss

JR Isaga

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No pushovers: Ateneo holds head high after scaring UAAP leader UST in 2nd 5-set loss

PLAYING WITH PRIDE. Ateneo spiker Zel Tsunashima reacts in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

The underdog Ateneo Blue Eagles continue to carry a 'nothing to lose' mentality as they repeatedly threaten top UAAP contenders like NU and undefeated UST

MANILA, Philippines – When you aim for the top, you best not miss.

With nothing to lose, the Ateneo Blue Eagles missed the mark only by the slimmest of margins after legitimately threatening the undefeated UST Golden Tigresses in an eventual five-set loss, 25-15, 27-25, 23-25, 26-28, 15-13,  on Wednesday, March 20.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Lyann de Guzman, Sobe Buena, and Zel Tsunashima – who all breached the 20-point mark in the losing cause – the underdog Eagles successfully dug themselves out of a 0-2 hole and actually broke even, 13-all, in the deciding fifth set, before UST escaped with the win.

Despite falling to a 2-6 record in contrast to the 8-0 Tigresses, De Guzman and head coach Sergio Veloso kept their heads held high in the face of another defeat, instead relishing the concept that they can actually win against any team with favorable winds behind their sails.

“I saw that my teammates did not give up. I saw their fighting spirit until the end, that no matter what happens, we just kept playing and following coach’s system,” De Guzman said in Filipino. “Everyone else follows once one player shows their spirit. It boosts everyone else.”

“I’m so proud of the team. UST is the first in the first round. They won all the matches and we played one of the strongest teams,” Veloso added. “My players showed they can play at this level. That is so important.”

Sure enough, Wednesday night’s kind of defeat was not a one-off, as Ateneo also pushed contending NU to a five-setter in the first round, while only having two sweep losses in their six-defeat tally: one against champion La Salle and the other against UST.

“I know this because in practice, I know my team,” said Veloso. “Sometimes I ask the team, hey, you need to show in the matches what you show me in practice. Today, I think everybody can see this team can play on a high level.”

Still in the running for a Final Four spot, the feisty Eagles could use all the motivation they can get as they attempt to turn mere threats to tangible results heading to the elimination rounds’ home stretch.

“All of us work very well and I’m just so very proud of my teammates because we don’t stop hustling and helping one another out no matter what the score is,” De Guzman continued.

“It’s just our mindset to give everything we’ve got. We have nothing to lose.” –

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