La Salle's Ramil de Jesus ready for tough UAAP Finals coaching battle vs FEU's George Pascua
Former teammates Ramil de Jesus and George Pascua now face off in a coaching battle for the UAAP Season 80 title. Jerome Ascano

LA Salle coach Ramil de Jesus braces for a tough match against Far Eastern University mentor George Pascua as they meet in Game One of the best-of-three Finals series of the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

De Jesus, who has been in the Finals for 10 straight seasons, knows that his former college teammate has something up his sleeve.

The two, in fact, have a deep-rooted relationship being teammates in the 1991 FEU champion team in the UAAP.

“Matiyagang tao si George, maganda 'yung ginagawa niya ngayon sa team, and siguro ano, kailangan talaga bantayan 'yung FEU kasi alam ko matiyagang tao 'yun,” he said.

Although they came from the same school and under the mentorship of the late Kid Santos, de Jesus stressed that Pascua has developed his own coaching style and technic.

“Kasi bawat coach kasi may kanya-kanyang sistema, so maaring may mga part na nakuha niya kay Coach Kid,” he said.

“Pero siyempre bawat coach, may gustong gawin sa team na hindi niya na dala-dala 'yung ibang sistema ng naging mentor,” he added.

This year’s Finals may seem like a sibling rivalry but de Jesus warned that Pascua and the rest of the Lady Tamaraws are out to prove their worth and end a long title drought.

It took FEU nine long years to return in the Finals and now that the Lady Tamaraws have that chance to get that payback from the Lady Spikers, who defeated them in Season 71, de Jesus can only sense danger.

“Nakikita ko naman na nagi-improve ang galaw ng FEU, at saka kita ko, may gusto silang patunayan this year,” he said.

But the 10-time UAAP champion coach is undaunted.

“Ready naman kami doon,” he said.

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