COACH Oliver Almadro believes Ateneo's Final Four series against Far Eastern University only strengthened his side's resolve heading into the UAAP Season 81 women's volleyball finals against University of Santo Tomas.
"Yung mental toughness ng team, yung heart, at yung will, tumibay," he said.
The fourth-seeded Lady Tamaraws took Game One in a tight five-setter last Saturday before the twice-to-beat Lady Eagles gutted out the 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-14 four-set victory on Wednesday to book the last ticket to the best-of-three title series.
Almadro couldn't help but be in awe of his players' desire, not just to win the match but also make it back to the finals after missing out last year.
"In this kind of series, you scratch [off] the statistics. Importante na lang is what they really want. We are here because they really wanted it," said Almadro, who is making his first finals appearance in his first season as coach of the Ateneo women's team after winning three championships with the men's squad.
"Sobrang mas mahirap pala sa women’s [tournament] makapasok sa finals because every team, yung power, yung will, pare-parehas," he said.
That the Lady Tamaraws pushed Ateneo to the limit only toughened the Lady Eagles entering the finals against University of Santo Tomas, Almandro said.
"Wala naman kaming major adjustment. I just told my players to be really tough," said Almadro.
"Alam naman natin na sa umpisa pa lang yung firepower na nung UST. They are well-rested and yun ang advantage nila. But we will give them a beautiful game."