ATENEO women’s volleyball team manager Tony Boy Liao knows Ramil de Jesus very well, and he's the first to warn that the veteran La Salle coach will never run out of 'tricks.'
Liao had worked with de Jesus in the past back when he served as La Salle team manager for five years - a stretch that saw the Lady Spikers achieve their first hat-trick of UAAP titles from 2004 to 2006.
“I know him from head to bottom,” said Liao on Tuesday during the PSA Forum at Shakey’s, Malate.
Now the manager of Ateneo, Liao knows de Jesus well enough to expect the La Salle coach to make the necessary adjustments now that the Lady Spikers go to the UAAP finals without top scorer Ara Galang.
“Madami pang magic ‘yan si Ramil up his sleeves,” said Liao, citing de Jesus' extensive experience in his 18 years at the helm of the Lady Spikers which produced eight championships.
That's the reason Liao is warning Ateneo not to be complacent even if it holds a thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals after a sweep of its 14 games in the elims, including two against La Salle.
Or that the Lady Spikers will be without the talismanic Galang, who suffered a gruesome injury in the team's four-set win over the National University Lady Bulldogs in the stepladder playoffs.
La Salle athletic director Nongnong Calanog echoed Liao's words, saying he has no doubts about de Jesus’ ability to lead the Lady Spikers to an upset.
“Them working together that’s a plus but coach Ramil has worked strategies noong wala na si Tony,” said Calanog. “I’m pretty sure he’s got some aces up his sleeves.”
Game One of the much-anticipated face-off between the rival schools is on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.