La Salle aims to shock Ateneo again
MANILA, Philippines – With the Final Four cast almost set and done, the La Salle Lady Spikers look to strengthen their grip on the second seed and turn up the pressure on the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles when they collide in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on Saturday, April 13, 4 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"Noong nakaharap namin sila noong first round, nagulat [sila] sa amin," said La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus. "Sana magulat ulit."
(They were surprised when we played against them in the first round. We hope they get surprised again.)
The Taft-based squad stunned the Lady Eagles that day by demonstrating incredible match sharpness and wonderful team chemistry despite forgoing the chance to join a major preseason tournament.
It hasn't been an entirely smooth season, though, for the Lady Spikers as the defending champions also absorbed shock losses – twice against the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons and once versus University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses – to slip to 2nd place at 8-3.
Ateneo, meanwhile, is riding on a 10-game winning run and has not dropped a match since losing to the Green-and-White on opening weekend two months ago.
Even though they dispatched the Katipunan-based squad easily in the previous round, La Salle setter Michelle Cobb expects the second-round showdown to be tight, noting that Ateneo has likely adjusted as the season went by.
Cobb admitted that the Lady Eagles might be the hungrier side since they're also motivated to avenge their lone setback.
"Kami ‘yung unang loss nila sa season so I guess they’re gonna come into Saturday’s game very ready and siyempre [dapat] kami rin," said Cobb, who notched a season-high 8 points – 4 coming from aces and 1 off a block – against Ateneo in the first round.
(We dealt their first loss of the season, so I guess they’re gonna come into Saturday’s game very ready and obviously, we have to be ready as well.)
A win for La Salle will see them inch closer to clinching a twice-to-beat advantage in the semifinal round.
On the other hand, a defeat will place the Lady Spikers in a three-way tie with the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and the Golden Tigresses at 8-4. – Juro Morilla/Rappler.com