COACH Oliver Almadro said Alyssa Valdez isn’t the only one the Ateneo needs to focus on as the Lady Eagles battle the Creamline Cool Smahers in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference finals.
The best-of-three finals begin on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Almadro said it is already a given that Valdez will be hard to contain, so the focus should be on the Lady Eagles themselves on how they can match-up with the Creamline's play.
“May naka-contain na ba kay Alyssa? Wala pa naman yata. I don’t remember na may nakapagpigil kay Alyssa. Alyssa Valdez will be Alyssa Valdez. Sa amin, it’s a challenge for us. We don’t have to prove Alyssa na kaya namin siya. We have to prove ourselves na kaya naming maglaro sa level ni Alyssa.
“Kailangan maglevel-up kami sa kanila. If kailangang ma-surpass, ma-surpass,” said Almadro on Tuesday during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Tapa King Cubao Farmers.
Almadro said Creamline is a deep team that containing Valdez will not be enough if Ateneo-Motolite wants to capture the crown.
“Stopping Alyssa won’t stop Creamline. Hindi lang Alyssa ‘yung Creamline. Jia (Morado) is a very good setter, Jema (Galanza) recently siya ang Player of the Game. Risa Sato is a very active middle. They have two of the best liberos in the country. (Michelle) Gumabao is one of the best hitters in her time and bumabalik na kundisyon niya,” said Almadro.
Ateneo-Motolite advanced to the finals and a date with Creamline after a hard-earned 21-25, 23-25, 25-17, 27-25, 21-19 win over BanKo in the decider of the best-of-three semifinals.
That in itself is a victory, according to Almadro, in Ateneo’s preparation for the UAAP.
“Sabi ko nga, parang we already won in terms of experience, and in terms of maturity. We already won in terms of playing against top-level competition. Hindi pa kami nagte-training abroad pero ‘yung level of competition, mataas na. What more can you ask for. We are thankful na binigyan kami ng ganung klaseng competition ng BanKo and then ‘yung Creamline. Another motivation for us to do well in the future,” said Almadro.