RIDING on a three-game winning run, defending champion La Salle hopes to assert its mastery of Ateneo when the bitter rivals clash for the first time in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
For the past five years, the Lady Spikers and the Lady Eagles have faced each other in the Finals with a 3-2 record in favor of the Taft-based squad.
In their latest showdown, La Salle, bannered by Ara Galang, Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Kim Dy and Kim Fajardo turned back the Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo side in three games.
However, last season’s Finals MVP Dy finds much of their title-winning core gone but she remains confident in their chances against their rivals, who are coming off a dominant win over erstwhile unbeaten UP.
“Ipapakita namin na we have the heart of a champion and show our A-game and consistency,” she said.
Although the former stars Galang, Reyes and Valdez among others are now reduced to mere spectators, Dy sees nothing has changed especially with the support from the fans.
La Salle still has Dy, Fajardo, Majoy Baron and Dawn Macandili, while Ateneo has the triple towers Maddie Madayag, Kat Tolentino and Bea de Leon with power hitters Jhoana Maraguinot at Michelle Morente.
“Andun na ang fact na malaki ang crowd, iba ‘yung intensity sa loob ‘yun feeling na may rivalry,” she said.
“I guess gusto namin patunayan na kahit maraming nawala, we can still do it,” she added.
Ateneo and La Salle are currently tied at the No. 1 with an identical 5-1 win-loss records.