THE UAAP Season 79 men's volleyball finals series opener between three-peat seeking Ateneo and National University was already intense, but some courtside spectactors added extra spice to the game.
A Bulldogs female fan was relentless in firing jabs at the Blue Eagles, particularly on Josh Villanueva. Seated at the patron section, the lady wearing a white shirt can clearly be heard by the players as she shouted, 'Let's cheer for the real men.'
But Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro was quick to remind his wards not to retaliate.
“What I’m telling my players is to manage it, you are an Atenista so you don’t stoop down to their level,” he said after the Blue Eagles' 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-13 win.
The outspoken coach shared that they are used to such name-calling and slurs, adding that they have grown tired of bashers calling his wards 'bakla,' 'beki' and the like.
“Kami naman, alam naman namin na ganoon ang pwede nilang gawin para ma-distract kami eh. Walang problema kasi nasanay na kami,” he said.
“Rookie pa lang si Josh, rookie pa lang si Ish (Polvorosa) ginaganyan na kami ng FEU, noong mga dati. Ginaganyan na kami nina Berlin (Paglinawan), nina Peter (Torres of NU) sanay na kami,” he added.
But the two-time champion coach simply advises his players to keep their focus in the face of hateful words thrown at them from the sidelines.
“What’s important is your goal. If you win, they bash you, but you won. So sino ang panalo? Hindi naman sila kundi ang mga players ko,” he said.
“Because I’m teaching my players not to be rude, not to retaliate sa mga ganyan,” he added.
Game Two is set on Saturday.