FAVORITES clash early in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament as titleholder La Salle battles Ateneo on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro says it’s a tough opening assignment but should be a good test for the team led by graduating players Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag and Kim Gequillana as well as Kat Tolentino, rookie Vanie Gandler and setter Deanna Wong.
“We’re looking at it na yung first game mo bakbakan agad the mindset of the players is to aim what is above, play right and be better than their best,” the new Lady Eagles coach said.
Ateneo and La Salle clash at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. match between Adamson University and University of Sto. Tomas.
Focus will be on Des Cheng, Tin Tiamzon, Aduke Ogunsanya, May Luna and setter Michelle Cobb as La Salle, now without star libero Dawn Macandili, Kim Kianna Dy and Season 79 MVP Majoy Baron, eyes a fourth straight title.
Almadro, multi-titled coach of the Blue Eagles, is in his first season in cage of the women’s team, taking over from Anusorn Bundit.
“Siyempre may halong pressure, may halong excitement, may halong accepting the blessing,” Almadro said.
“Of course, hindi natin matatawaran yun na La Salle agad. Ang masasabi ko lang my team is on track sa conditioning and sa program namin pero mahirap sabihin kung one hundred percent ka kasi UAAP is a long tournament kailangan you peak at the right time, jell at the right time.”