La Salle coach admits Ateneo star Alyssa Valdez a 'headache' ahead of marquee face-off
Alyssa Valdez has led the Lady Eagles to an unbeaten streak that runs to six games this season - and 24 dating back to two seasons ago. Jaime Campos

LA Salle coach Ramil de Jesus knows he will have to contend with 'one headache' in the form of Alyssa Valdez when the Lady Spikers renew their rivalry with Ateneo on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.

“Syempre kahit naman sinong coach, sakit ng ulo si Alyssa,” said de Jesus. “Pero sa side nila (Ateneo) napakagandang asset sa team nila ni Alyssa.”

But the eight-time UAAP champion coach also knows the Lady Eagles, winners the past two years and unbeaten in six games this season - and in 24 matches dating back to two seasons ago, are more than just about Valdez.

Middle blockers Amy Ahomiro, Bea de Leon and sophomore Maddie Madayag are having impressive seasons for Ateneo while second-year hitter Jhona Maraguinot has blended well with Valdez in the attacking line.

[See Ateneo make short work of UE to stretch unbeaten run to six]

For La Salle to have a chance at ending the Lady Eagles' run, the Lady Spikers will have to play near-flawless volleyball, said their soft-spoken coach.

La Salle is currently in second spot with a 4-1 win-loss card.

“Alam naman natin malakas ‘yung kalaban, so pilitin namin makasabay sa kanila,” he said. “Pagdating naman sa loob ng court, kung sino ang maka-minimize errors (ang mananalo).”

“Ang (game plan namin ay) ma-sustain namin galaw namin, maka-sabay kami sa kanila. Okay rin ‘yun (takbo ng team ngayon) pero pipilitin namin na mas mapababa pa ang unforced errors namin,” he added.

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