Ateneo Lady Eagles burn with confidence in second round opener
MANILA, Philippines – After their loss to archrivals De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, the Ateneo Lady Eagles proved that they were stronger than others think.
During their UAAP Season 80 opening game, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws bested the Lady Eagles in 5 sets for the first time since Season 76. However, the Katipunan-based squad has turned the tables, sweeping the Lady Tamaraws in their second round match on Wednesday, March 7.
Previously second place, the Lady Tamaraws are now tied at 3rd place with the Lady Eagles as both teams hold a similar 5-3 records in the UAAP Season 80 Women's Volleyball tournament.
After starting the season with two losses, tady Eagles are looking to bounce back stronger in this second round.
"First round pa lang naman 'yun, and second round is bagong round na naman, so sa amin, we just have to play like how we really play. Not like 'yung parang lost kami, ganoon. Focused lang kami, and concentrate, heart strong, happy," said team captain Maddie Madayag.
(That was the first round and the second round is a new round anyway, so for us, we just have to play like how we really play. Not like we were lost. We should be focused and concentrated, heart strong, happy.)
Confidence has been a prime factor for the Lady Eagles which started to build up after their first win against the University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.
During the match against DLSU, the Lady Eagles were hit by bad timing as Coach Tai was absent due to his father-in-law's death anniversary and Dani Ravena was diagnosed with appendicitis on that week. (READ: Ateneo Lady Eagles suffer from 'bad timing' in loss to DLSU)
Madayag affirmed that Coach Tai's return to the first game of the second round played a big factor to their confidence as they know that the "dancing coach" will be there to guide them.
"It's very... parang nakaka-lift up ng spirit kasi andoon 'yung coach mo, nagchi-cheer sa side." (It's very... like it will lift up your spirit because your coach is there cheering at the side)
Filipino-Canadian Kat Tolentino was one of the Lady Eagles who stepped up in this game because of her growing confidence. Tolentino was the second leading scorer behind Jhoana Maraguinot who chipped in 11 points all from attacks.
"I think it's definitely improved since the beginning of the season. And I think confidence is a really huge factor in how any team plays so we really just had to improve our confidence, and it's definitely a lot better than the first round," said Tolentino.
Heading into their second round match against the top seed National University Lady Bulldogs on Saturday, March 17, the Lady Eagles will continue to sharpen their basic skills especially in their receives, which been subjected to a lot of criticism. Tolentino believes that the Lady Eagles are slowly showing signs of improvement as the season progresses.
"I think 'receive' is a huge factor in volleyball, and also defense. So our main focus is to go through the basics, and it starts with 'receives.' We did a really good job today and hopefully we can continue that in the second round." – Rappler.com