ATENEO seeks history on Sunday when it goes for a third straight Shakey’s V-League First Conference crown at the expense of National University when the two teams square off in Game Two of their title series at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Eagles scored a straight-sets victory over the Lady Bulldogs in the opener Thursday, 25-15, 25-22, 25-23, to move on the brink of becoming the first team to win three consecutive First Conference championships.
A win in the 3 p.m. match will also make Ateneo only the third team to clinch three league titles or more after University of Santo Tomas (six) and La Salle (three).
Coach Roger Gorayeb hopes the two-time reigning champion will wrap up the series quickly as he remains wary of a possible NU comeback.
“We can never underestimate NU, malalaki yan. I told the girls we are not here only to play, we are here to win,” he said.
“We can’t play the usual game every game. Kailangang may pagbabago because this is the championship. Kailangan din may changes sa position.”
At the same time, the Ateneo coach hopes ace spiker Alyssa Valdez will already be healthy for Game Two after playing limited minutes during Thursday’s opener due to a recurring shoulder injury.
But the Lady Bulldogs vow to give the Lady Eagles a good fight this time in their hope of extending the series to a deciding Game Three on June 2 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“Kailangan gumana ang service, blockings, at receive namin para manalo,” said NU coach Edjet Mabbayad.
Led by tournament MVP Dindin Santiago, the Bulldogs only tallied a total of 60 points, with Santiago held to her lowest output of seven markers.
Mabbayad admitted the Lady Bulldogs struggled in their attacks due to their miscues in receiving.
“Nahihirapan din kasi talaga kami umatake dahil walang receive,” he said. “So pag naka-receive kami tomorrow kaya namin umatake ng maayos and maka-score.”
The Lady Eagles, who failed in their bid for the UAAP women’s volleyball title early this year, also hope to give senior members of the team a fitting end to their careers.
Only setter Jem Ferrer and spiker Fille Cainglet are with the team that won last year’s title as the other so-called “Fab 5” members such as Dzi Gervacio, Gretchen Ho, and A Nacachi opted to pursue other careers.
Meanwhile, Adamson University also tries to finish off University of Santo Tomas in their own best-of-three series for third place.
The Lady Falcons won Game One, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25,25-23, 15-12.