The UAAP Season 76 Women’s Volleyball Tournament was the last time Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles were swept by the De La Salle University Lady Spikers in the elimination round.
In Season 80, the Lady Eagles found themselves in an unfamiliar position, beaten by the same rival opponent twice and without a twice-to-beat advantage entering the semifinals.
The team’s veterans found it hard to pinpoint what exactly became their problem this game. To put it simply, La Salle just played way better than Ateneo.
There were flashes of brilliance from the Lady Eagles especially in first and third set but Ateneo’s weakness in receiving became a liability once again. There were close calls but Ateneo found it hard to find the closing punch.
Jho Maraguinot and Maddie Madayag both expressed that despite good training sessions, they still fell short in nipping their arch-rivals.
“Parang ang ganda ng training namin, tapos biglang sobrang nabibitin kami sa game,” shared team captain Madayag, who had eight points against La Salle.
“Yeah but move on nalang kami kasi wala na kaming magagawa.”
“I think that’s the hard part eh, naguusap naman kami [sa loob] eh. Siguro bad day lang talaga. Hindi siguro obvious but naguusap naman kami sa loob eh. Every point naman, tinutulungan namin ang isa’t isa. Siguro La Salle played better lang today,” Maraguinot furthered.
Maraguinot, who is the team’s leading scorer, only made six points this game.
“Siyempre very disappointed lalo na sa sarili ko.
“I know I can do better pero yeah kinulang eh,” she said, “I think I just have to accept it. Bawi nalang next game.”
Now, Ateneo is on to a more difficult track in their semi finals. They will have to overcome a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the Far Eastern University to book a ticket to the championship.
“We’ve been playing bad for the past four games. For us, I guess kailangan naming mag regroup,” Madayag said.
Back-to-back loss against UP and La Salle may not be an ideal way to enter the semifinals but Ateneo just sees this as a springboard to just go back to how they win their games: be happy.
“We’re not gonna be complacent but we’re gonna be confident despite the loss,” expressed Madayag. “Ang ganda ng ganda ng laro niyo sa training tapos ngayon di kayo masaya pagdating sa game. We just need to play happy like what coach Tai said:
“Kailangan lang talaga mag enjoy.”