Ateneo de Manila University fell short of defending its UAAP women’s volleyball crown, falling to De La Salle University in the stepladder semifinals.
But this bronze finish will only make the Blue Eagles hungrier on reclaiming the throne come next season.
“As a team, we know na we really tried, we really fought talaga till the end. Maybe it’s not our time,” said Ateneo’s leading scorer Faith Nisperos.
“I’m still grateful na binigyan kami ni Lord ng ganitong experience, something na panghahawakan, something na panghuhugutan in preparation for the next season.”
It was a rollercoaster ride for the Blue Eagles who started flat, dropping their first three games.
But they responded big time, going 8-3 the rest of the elimination round, good for a joint fourth place with Adamson University.
Ateneo then had to claw its way up the stepladder, beating the Lady Falcons in the playoff for fourth, before clipping University of Santo Tomas in the first phase of the semifinals.
“We started 0-3… pero hindi namin tinuloy na magkaroon ng doubt. We fought. ‘Yung resiliency ng mga players ko hindi ko matawaran,” said Almadro.
“My players did their best. I’m really proud of my players.”
The bronze hardware is just a step towards the main goal of the Blue Eagles.
With their captain Dani Ravena the only graduating player, Almadro loves to look forward.
“We have to be excited for [Season 85], excited for the things that will come,” said the charismatic head tactician.
Nisperos showed her leadership skills throughout the tournament but it was not a one-man show as Vanie Gandler, Erika Raagas, AC Miner, and the rest of the squad had their own shining moments.
“I’m happy na nandiyan pa ‘yung mga younger players ko and hopefully, talagang sila Vanie, Jaja (Maraguinot), sila Erika, ma-lift pa nila ‘tong team.”