ATENEO is hell-bent on pulling off a golden sweep in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament that it vowed that Friday marked the final day of practice for the season.
Team manager Tony Boy Liao told Spin.ph the Lady Eagles are already eager to end the season that they’re hoping to wrap up the finals series against injury-plagued De La Salle in Saturday’s Game Two at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“The Lady Eagles hope that today (Friday) will be the last training for the season,” said the Ateneo official. “They really need to rest.”
Game time is at 3:30 p.m.
But La Salle is not about to roll over and die even in the midst of adversity that had the team losing two of its key players and needing to pull of the tough task of beating the reigning champion three times to reclaim the championship.
“Definitely, we are not raising the white flag,” La Salle athletic director Nonong Calanog said in a Spin.ph interview.
The Lady Spikers go to Game Two of the series without skipper Ara Galang and Camille Cruz. Galang is down with an ACL, MCL and medial meniscus tear and bone bruises on her left knee, while Cruz suffered a third ACL tear on her right knee.
Expected to step up in their absence are Cyd Demecillo, Desiree Cheng, and Carol Cerveza.
Still, even with a depleted roster, Calanog said the Lady Spikers will give top-seeded Ateneo a good fight.
“This team will fight even if there are only six players left on the court,” said the La Salle official.
Ateneo needed only an hour and 20 minutes to win Game One on Wednesday, 25-19, 25-18, 25-18 as the Lady Spikers, even with the injured Galang giving her moral support by watching and cheering on the bench, looked disoriented on the floor.
Liao believed the Lady Eagles are seriously driven to win back-to-back championships especially with the confidence being given them by coach Tai Bundit.
“Right now we are one game to go. Nandyan na eh gusto ng mga bata,” said Liao. “You saw their game (on Wednesday) they’re for it (championship). I think they’re gonna go for it.”
“Ang sinasabi kasi sa kanila ni Tai, ‘If they believe that they can do it, they can do it,” he added. “ Alyssa and her teammates paniwala na kaya nila, kaya kaya nila.”
The charismatic Valdez, who is expected to win her second straight MVP award, however, doesn’t want to promise anything and simply said the Lady Eagles will just play their usual intense game.
“We’ll never know what’s gonna happen. It’s up to him (coach Tai). Let’s find out sa Saturday,” said Valdez, likewise the season’s Best Scorer and Best Server.