Ateneo has no plans to relax despite clinching Final Four berth
MANILA, Philippines – Not even a 10th straight Final Four appearance will force the Ateneo Lady Eagles to let their guards down in their UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball tournament campaign.
The Lady Eagles solidified their hold of the top spot and officially clinched their semifinals slot with a four-set win over the NU Lady Bulldogs on Sunday, April 7, and they have no plans of getting complacent.
"We don't want to show that just because we're part of the Final Four, easy-easy na lang 'yan. Of course, 'yung mga patapos na games, we really want to finish it strong pa rin," said veteran Maddie Madayag
(We don't want to show that just because we're part of the Final Four, everything's going to be easy. Of course we want to finish strong in our remaining games.)
Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro echoed Madayag's sentiments and emphasized that the team is preparing for the long term, and not just claiming a top 4 finish.
"I told them that the eliminations will not determine your character right away now that you're in the Final Four," Almadro said.
One reason not to relax is that NU managed to take the 2nd set and threatened Ateneo in the early stages of the 3rd and 4th set.
"It doesn't matter who we're playing, and I think we just always have to win convincingly and we'll learn from this," Kat Tolentino said. (READ: Ateneo's Kat Tolentino bags 2nd UAAP Player of the Week plum)
The Lady Eagles have 3 elimination round games remaining, with none bigger than their match against rivals La Salle Lady Spikers at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, April 13.
"La Salle is the top team, they're the defending champions, so we'll just do things that matter and we'll really keep pushing ourselves up because we know that great teams will just push us forward," Almadro said. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com