Facing specter of third straight loss, De Leon, Ateneo go back to 'happy' mantra
Bea De Leon heaves a sigh of relief as Ateneo won its first game of the season. Dante Peralta

FACING the specter of a third straight defeat in the UAAP women's volleyball season, the Ateneo Lady Eagles dug deep and went back to their "happy, heartstrong" mantra.

The result?

The Lady Eagles rolled past University of Santo Tomas, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23, on Sunday to pump life back into their campaign in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament.

Ateneo leader Bea De Leon said the Lady Eagles started turning things around as soon as they revisited the mantra instilled by Thai coach Tai Bundit. 

"I think we went back to coach Tai’s mantra of happy, happy, heartstrong," said De Leon. "We said that everything we do, we have to do it happy, we have to do it together and we just can’t give up."

The atmosphere on Sunday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre was so tense as Ateneo waded into unchartered territory after losing its first two matches against Far Eastern University and National University.

The Lady Eagles needed the victory very badly.

"It’s really really important because obviously if we didn’t, it would’ve been 0-3," said the middle blocker, who clinched the Ateneo win with the off-the-block shot.

"It would’ve been the bottom but now, it’s really, really good for us. And it’s finally a start for us."

De Leon is hopeful Sunday's victory will serve as a springboard for the Lady Eagles' recovery.

"It’s been hard. I think obviously regardless of your attitude it’s really hard to lose. But like I said we just have to learn to keep on lifting each other up," she said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros