Not much on the line, but arch-rivals Ateneo, La Salle still vow 'all-out war'
Tai Bundit and Ramil de Jesus figure in another coaching battle as Ateneo and La Salle gun for the top seed. Jaime Campos

LA Salle hopes to show the heart of a champion while Ateneo braces for war in the much-anticipated match for the No. 1 seed between bitter rivals in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

With identical 11-2 win-loss cards, the Lady Eagles and Lady Spikers have already secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four. 

But Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses said they are treating the game as if it’s a championship match, not because they want to clinch the top spot, but the coaching staff just wants the Lady Eagles to show a must-win mentality each time they play.

“Syempre all out pa rin ‘yan kasi syempre sabi nga namin eh, kailangan masanay na kapag umapak ka sa court, kailangan all out ka talaga. Kaya all out yan sa Saturday,” he said.

“Siyempre kada game kailangan, mas maganda manalo. Wala namang team na gusto matalo,” he added.

However, La Salle wants more than bragging rights in being the top team after the eliminations. The Lady Spikers are out for revenge after a tough loss to the Lady Eagles last March.

In their first meeting, Ateneo displayed its 'heart strong' mantra in overcoming a six-point deficit at the end of the first and second sets to lead the match 2-0 over La Salle. The Lady averted a straight-set loss but the Lady Eagles finished the contest in four sets.

“Kami naman sabi nga namin, target namin Final Four, nakuha na namin ang top two masaya na kami. Although big game sa Saturday, kailangan namin bumawi, pipilitin namin,” said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

La Salle hopes to address issues on closing out sets, after having the game in control early on against Ateneo before faltering late in the first two frames.

“Sa Ateneo, ‘di ba ang finishing touches namin na talagang lamang kami noon all the way, ‘yun ang pilit naming ginagamot talaga,” he said.

On the other hand, Meneses expects a lot different La Salle squad in the rematch but insists that the Lady Eagles are coming in prepared with their own adjustments.

“Syempre every team nagpe-prepare ng adjustment every game, so second round ngayon, kung sino ang mas maganda ang adjustment, siya ang mas makakalamang sa game,” he said.

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