OVERCOMING a thrice-to-beat advantage has been proven doable as what Ateneo did in Season 76 of the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament against powerhouse La Salle.
And this year is no different, according to National University coach Roger Gorayeb.
Despite playing without star player Ara Galang and needing to beat defending champion Ateneo three times to reclaim its title, La Salle pulling off the unthinkable isn’t far-fetched, the former Lady Eagles coach said.
All it takes is one win to change the complexion of the finals, added Gorayeb.
“Actually, thrice-to-beat nga, pero Ateneo must still beat La Salle twice. Isang game lang naman talaga (ang advantage),” said the NU mentor, who called the shots for Ateneo when it finished runner-up twice to La Salle in Seasons 74 and 75, respectively.
Gorayeb said the word “thrice-to-beat” sounded like a huge advantage to any team that completed a 14-game sweep of the eliminations for an outright berth in the finals.
“Masyado lang kasing naha-hype ‘yung thrice-to-beat. Pero ang totoo, tinalo mo ng isang beses (ang Ateneo), may dalawa pa. Tinalo ka ng isang beses ng Ateneo, isa pa. Parang naha-hype ang thrice-to-beat na word,” he said.
“Pero in itself, it’s just one game. One game lang naman ‘yung advantage.”
For his part, De La Salle athletic director Nonong Calanog said the key in negating a thrice-to-beat disadvantage is winning Game One of the finals, just like what Ateneo did last year to La Salle on its way to winning its maiden league championship.
The Lady Eagles won last year’s opener in four sets, before eventually taking the last two games to win the school’s first women’s volleyball championship in dramatic fashion.
“The key is the first game because once you get the first game, you’ll level the series to a best-of-three. If you turn things around, you are leveling the series,” said Calanog.