THOUGH his main concern is to deliver the crown for National U, coach Roger Gorayeb also wants volley fans to come home winners when the Lady Bulldogs and the Ateneo Lady Eagles dispute the Shakey’s V-League Season 12 Collegiate Conference crown in sudden death on Sunday.
In fact, he hopes the Lady Eagles will show up with their best game at The Arena in San Juan City.
“I really want Ateneo to play its best game on Sunday. We played bad in Game One and they struggled in Game Two. Wouldn’t it be nice for the league and the fans if we both come out in our best form on Sunday?” said Gorayeb.
If that happens, Gorayeb added, it will boil down to reception.
“The key to our game is reception. Unless we receive well, we couldn’t cash in on our height advantage. All starts on a good reception,” said Gorayeb, whose wards bounced back from a 25-19, 25-13, 25-23 Game One loss with a 25-22, 25-17, 25-17 victory last Sunday.
That sent the series to a rubber match where Ateneo is expected to rebound from that stinging setback where its star player and league MVP Alyssa Valdez groped for form and struggled in the face of the Lady Bulldogs’ solid blocking and reception.
Valdez, who unleashed a 20-hit game in the series opener, was held to just nine in Game Two and the rest of the Lady Eagles failed to step up big, enabling the Lady Bulldogs to fashion out a surprisingly easy win.
Ateneo assistant coach Parley Tupaz said no key adjustment will be made but hopes Valdez will regain her confidence and bearing and the rest will step up big in the keenly awaited winner-take-all match.
“There’ll be no changes as far as our game plan is concerned. We’ll just apply what we’ve been doing under coach Tai (Bundit),” said Tupaz of the Thai mentor who had to honor a previous commitment back home. “We’re pinning our hopes not just on Alyssa but on the entire team.”
NU is actually eyeing a repeat of its Season 10 win when it nipped Ateneo, 3-1, in sudden death after dropping the first game and winning the next while the Lady Eagles are seeking their third collegiate crown in the league sponsored by Shakey’s and presented by PLDT Home Ultera after sweeping Adamson in Season 8 and edging UST, also in rubber match, in Season 9.