ITS pride obviously pricked, reigning champion La Salle tries to regain advantage over Ateneo when the two rival schools tangle anew in the UAAP women’s volleyball Finals on Saturday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The three-time defending titlist is still smarting from a shocking 25-17, 23-25, 13-25, 20-25 loss to the Lady Eagles Wednesday during the opener of their title series that negated the Lady Spikers’ thrice-to-beat edge over their fabled foe following a sweep of the 14-game elimination.
The setback was La Salle’s first for the season and broke their 30-game winning streak that stretched back as far as December 2012.
Aware of the significance of the 4 p.m. match, La Salle coach Ramil de Jesus said Game Two of the title series will definitely be a test of his team’s character.
“Eto mate-test yung character natin sa next game,” he told his players. “Kung makapag-adjust (kami) ng mas maayos at mapanalo namin sa Saturday, 'yun na ang totoong La Salle. (Pero) pag natalo kami, ibang La Salle na 'yun.”
De Jesus also did not deny the fact the Lady Spikers became too complacent and relied too much on the team enjoying a thrice-to-beat edge against the surging Lady Eagles side.
“Nawala na 'yung (thrice-to-beat) advantage namin, naka-isang panalo (ang ateneo), so ngayon even na kami. Di maalis sa mga bata 'yun eh, naging complacent sila,” he said.
“Ngayon nagising sila (players). Nakita ko sa mata ng mga bata 'yung iba 100 percent ang binigay (sa game), may iba hindi 100 percent. 'Yung emotion nila makikita mo, 'yung mga 100 percent naiiyak, yung mga hindi 100 percent ok lang, parang normal lang yung nangyari.”
Both teams now stand on equal footing, with the first to win two games clinching the title.
“Kung gusto namin makuha (ang game Two) mas dodoblehin pa namin (ang effort), mas doble sa ginawa namin sa eliminations,” said de Jesus.
The La Salle mentor however, doesn’t want to sound too confident going to Game Two.
“Mahirap magsabi na babalik kami,” he said. “Kung ano na lang makikita sa amin sa Saturday's game.”