Valdez points out DLSU's system as a threat
Mark Escarlote on Feb 25, 2016 05:16 PM
They’re gonna go back to their system kahit anong mangyari, down man sila o up man sila, they really have that standard --- Alyssa Valdez
If De La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus calls Alyssa Valdez a “headache” for the Lady Spikers, the Queen Eagle believes that Ateneo’s bitter rival’s system poses a great challenge in their much-awaited match on Saturday.
Valdez and the Lady Eagles know too well the championship pedigree, experience and school pride of the green-clad Lady Spikers that they can’t be complacent against the team they have beaten six straight times since dethroning DLSU in Season 76.
“Definitely La Salle really has a good system. They’re really prepared every time they go on a game,” said the reigning back-to-back Most Valuable player, an unstoppable force that led the Katipunan-based squad in dominating the league in the past two years.
“They’re gonna go back to their system kahit anong mangyari, down man sila o up man sila, they really have that standard. Through the years sobrang na-polish talaga nila,” added Valdez.
This season, De Jesus has been playing great mind games against other teams as he tweaks his starting lineup each outing, keeping the opposition guessing and most of the time catching them off guard.
The marquee game, a rematch of last year’s championship series where Ateneo swept DLSU to complete a 16-0 Season 77 sweep, is slated 4:30 p.m. at the Big Dome.
“Definitely kami rin naman every game pinaghahandaan namin. Definitely coach Tai (Bundit) will definitely pahihirapan din kami (sa training) and gagawin din n’ya ‘yung trabaho niya para ma-assist kami, ma-guide kami kung ano ang dapat naming gawin on Saturday,” added Valdez.
With Valdez getting ample support from Jhoana Maraguinot, Maddie Madayag, Amy Ahomiro and Bea De Leon, the Lady Eagles outclassed their first six opponents for a perfect record and a 24-game winning streak since Season 76.
But De Jesus’s main concern is Valdez.
“Siyempre kahit naman sinong coach, sakit ng ulo si Alyssa,” said De Jesus in a separate interview.
And he has all the reasons to believe so.
The outgoing veteran and a member of the national team is averaging 17 points per game, currently third in spiking (42.23% success rate) as well as in service aces (0.63 average per frame) and on the defensive side, Valdez is in the top 10 list in digs and with a decent reception percentage.
In last year’s Finals series, the limping Lady Spikers were no match with the mighty Lady Eagles. Ateneo that time faced a DLSU side missing the services of team captain Ara Galang after suffering a left knee injury in the stepladder semifinals against the National University Lady Bulldogs that ended her season.
Galang is back in full health for DLSU, which is currently in second place with a 4-1 win-loss record, and has veterans Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, kill block league-leading Majoy Baron, and rookie Ernestine Tiamzon to back her up in their mission to arrest a losing skid to Ateneo.
The Lady Spikers will enter the duel coming off a five-day break while the Lady Eagles will have a two-day rest heading into Ateneo’s last game of the first round.
Valdez said that the length of preparation won’t be an issue.
“Depende rin ‘yan sa kung saan mas sanay ang mga teams,” she said. “Siguro it’s also an advantage or disadvantage for both of us but then it’s Ateneo-La Salle. Iba rin naman kasi ang game kapag Ateneo-La Salle. So let’s see what’s gonna happen on Saturday.”
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