La Salle, Ateneo spikers clash

DEFENDING  champion La Salle seeks to complete its elimination round head-to-head sweep with fierce rival Ateneo and clinch a Final Four berth in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Ramil de Jesus is upbeat that his Lady Spikers will pull off another surprise to put a halt to the Lady Eagles’ juggernaut.

“Nakatapat na namin sila noong first round nagulat sa amin,” said De Jesus. “Sana magulat ulit.”

La Salle won their first meeting on opening weekend last Feb. 17, 25-14, 25-17, 16-25, 25-19, before Ateneo went on a tear by winning 10 in a row.

A victory in the 4 p.m. match will secure the Lady Spikers’ 11th consecutive Final Four appearance.   It will also allow La Salle (8-3) to gain the needed buffer over joint third placers University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University (8-4) in the race for the second semifinals incentive.

For the Lady Eagles, not only a win will avenge their first round loss to the Lady Spikers but will also seal the No. 1 ranking and the twice-to-beat bonus in the Final Four.

After sweeping Adamson, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16, last Sunday, La Salle had enough time to prepare for its much-anticipated rivalry game with Ateneo.

De Jesus is looking forward to seeing his troop to take care of the ball against the Lady Eagles, as the Lady Spikers gave away 20 free points to the Lady Falcons.

“Sabi ko kailangan kapag nasa loob sigurado tayo sa sarili natin kung ano yung role natin sa team. Hindi pepuwede yung may tumaas na bola, lumayo pagkatapos hindi natin alam sino yung kukuha dapat sigurado kung ano ‘yung trabaho, 100 percent dapat alam niyo kung ano yung role niyo sa court,” said De Jesus.

Ateneo is fresh a 25-14, 26-24, 25-17 victory over National University last Sunday, as coach Oliver Almadro simply wanted his troops to deliver a better effort in their rematch with La Salle.

Learning a lot from that opening weekend loss to the Lady Spikers, the Lady Eagles have gone a long way to become the No. 1 team in the league.