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Tan, Valdez on their first weekend success, La Salle loss

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Ateneo tandem, Alyssa Valdez and Bea Tan, tore up their first week of matches in the UAAP Beach Volleyball tournament. Though they ended with a three-set loss to DLSU’s Cyd Demecillo and Kim Fajardo, the Ateneans had already taken care of other favorites, FEU and Adamson, en route for a 4-1 slate.

Last season, with Alyssa Valdez sitting out the tournament for rest, the Lady Eagles went 0-6. With Tan and Valdez reuniting for one last run, Ateneo sit atop the standings, something the pair didn’t expect because of their limited training time together.

“We’re actually doing great. I trusted Alyssa, she’s been training really hard for indoor, and it made her sharp for the competition. It’s really just a matter of us training more together, and getting more games together,” said Tan. “We’re so thankful na kahit na we lacked training together, we still played really well. But we really have to work harder kasi next week it’s going to be tougher for everyone,” Valdez added. “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time, we’re really not aiming for anything,” she continued.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Tan, Valdez on their first weekend success, La Salle loss

With a gallery of fans cheering for them beneath the beating sun, the Lady Eagles came into their Sunday showdown against the Lady Spikers with a lot of momentum. Ateneo executed perfectly, grabbing the first set and leading early in the second. La Salle, however, came out of a timeout on fire, forcing a third set, which came down to the wire. The set was tied at 12, but then La Salle got clutch points from Cyd Demecillo. La Salle’s win ensured that there will be a Final Four.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Tan, Valdez on their first weekend success, La Salle loss

“I guess we were caught off-guard in the second set – maybe it was because of complacency. It was really just a matter of composure inside the court, and we somehow lost it, I lost it. It’s all mental – it really wasn’t a matter of who had better, digs or what have you – I lost focus. We’re really just looking forward to our next games,” Tan explained after the match, adding that the fact that it was an Ateneo-La Salle match didn’t add pressure for her. “We’re really sad that we lost. But then it’s a volleyball game e, you can’t control everything. Still we can’t make excuses, we’re just gonna use it as motivation for our next games,” Valdez stated, adding that playing with her good friend and former high school teammate, Kim Fajardo, always makes Ateneo-La Salle matches fun for her. “We’re great friends but pagdating sa game, we have to do our business.”

The Lady Eagles will face the defending champs UST’s Cherry Rondina and Rica Rivera tomorrow before rounding up their elimination round against UE on Saturday. The Tigresses started their season unsteadily before picking up steam with back-to-back wins last Sunday. At 3-2, UST enter their match tomorrow much like the La Sallians, hungry for a convincing win.

Also on Saturday, the first Final Four matches will be played in the afternoon. Ateneo’s 4-1 record positions them well to advance.

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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