Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University has survived three elimination games, staying alive in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament.
And the Blue Eagles have advanced to the next phase of the stepladder semifinals, going against a tough twice-to-win situation against second-seed De La Salle University.
But Ateneo didn’t even expect to be here when looking at its horrific start to the season, dropping each of its first three games
However, champion teams know how to adjust and will be the first to acknowledge their own shortcomings.
At the end of the first round, the Blue Eagles were able to hike their record to 3-4, but still outside the Final Four space.
“Kasi alam naman namin nung first round, kulelat talaga kami sa depensa,” said Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro.
Then came the turnaround. Ateneo went 5-2 in the second round and the category that popped out? the defense.
From fifth, the reception of Ateneo improved to third-best. The digging rose from seventh to fifth.
Doromal jumped from 10th to third, while Ravena moved two notches higher to sixth.
And now, they escaped elimination from University of the Philippines, Adamson University, and recently, University of Santo Tomas with the last two being impressive straight-set victory.
“‘Yung defense. We really worked hard on our defense,” said Almadro after advancing to the next phase of the stepladder.
“Slowly we’re doing it right, and hopefully we can do it right more, more and more towards the next games.”
The Blue Eagles have moved on from their 0-3 start and have figured out how to win, especially in crucial moments.
For Almadro, hopefully, the trend continues to favor them.
“We will just prepare day by day, we will just do it one game at a time, one day at a time, and hopefully, we will win at the right time, we will win when it matters, so we’ll be preparing.”