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    Alyssa Valdez warns Ateneo Lady Eagles not to take struggling Lady Falcons lightly

    Feb 19, 2016
    The Lady Eagles have won four games to open the season. Jerome Ascano

    Standings: Ateneo 4-0; NU 3-1; DLSU 3-1; FEU 2-2; UP 2-2; AdU 1-3; UST 1-3; UE 0-4

    ATENEO shoots for its fifth straight victory as the defending two-time champions take on a struggling Adamson side on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Gametime is at 2 p.m., followed by a clash between National University and University of Santo Tomas at 4 p.m.

    Reigning MVP Alyssa Valdez leads the flight of the Lady Eagles, who have been unbeaten in the UAAP since March 2014, with ample support this year from Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, Amy Ahomiro and setter Jia Morado.

    Ateneo, the league's top spiking team, is coming off a 25-19, 25-21, 25-21 conquest of Katipunan neighbor University of the Philippines last Sunday for a 4-0 start to the season.

    The Lady Falcons, on the other hand, bowed to the Lady Maroons, 24-26, 27-25, 20-25, 19-25, last Wednesday to drop into a tie with the UST Tigresses in sixth place at 1-3.

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    Adamson's usually strong floor defense has been spotty so far, especially during crucial stretches, which is something coach Sherwin Meneses hopes the Lady Falcons can address for their match against the Lady Eagles.

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    Ateneo, though, knows better than to underestimate the struggling Adamson squad.

    "You know what Adamson can do," said Valdez, who scored a career-high 35 points against the Lady Falcons three years ago. "Yung defense talaga nila, walang palya. Every game, in my four years in the UAAP, they really give us a good fight."

    The Lady Eagles will also come prepared for Adamson's Jema Galanza and Mylene Paat, who combined for 48 points in their last outing.

    Meanwhile, NU coach Roger Gorayeb is satisfied with the Lady Bulldogs' showing this season.

    After losing to Ateneo in the opener, NU toppled Adamson, La Salle, and University of the East in succession to share second spot with DLSU.

    On the other hand, the Tigresses opened the season with three straight losses before breaking out of its slump against UE, 25-18, 25-8, 25-23, to hand new coach Kungfu Reyes his first collegiate win last Sunday.

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    Gorayeb, though, isn't keen to see the dangerous Tigresses gain any momentum.

    "Yung UST, may pride ang mga iyan. Malaking bagay ang pride sa isang player, yung confidence level, tumataas," said the NU coach.

    The Lady Bulldogs look to keep rolling behind Jaja Santiago, Jorelle Singh, Myla Pablo and libero Bia General, while EJ Laure, Cherry Rondina, Ria Meneses and a revitalized Carmela Tunay hope to lead the Tigresses out of the cellar.

    In men's play, old rivals Far Eastern University and UST take on the floor at 10 a.m. while NU plays UP at 8 a.m.

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    The Lady Eagles have won four games to open the season. Jerome Ascano
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