May tulog sila sa amin -- Lady Eagles assistant coach Tupaz
Mark Escarlote on Apr 08, 2016 03:18 PM
Ateneo de Manila sees better defense as key to get back at De La Salle.
De La Salle University caught the two-time defending champion Ateneo de Manila off guard in the first round eliminations of the 78th UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
It won’t happen again.
The Lady Eagles assistant coach Parley Tupaz said that the Katipunan-based squad this time will be well-prepared against the Lady Spikers and had already addressed their mistakes in their first meeting.
Tupaz vowed that Ateneo won’t be an easy target for DLSU when the two proud schools rekindle their storied rivalry on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Ateneo is holding an 11-2 win-loss record on top of the standings while co-Final Four qualifier and twice-to-beat advantage holder DLSU is second with a 10-2 slate.
“Hindi na kami magugulat d’yan this time kasi napaghandaan na namin ng husto (ang laro),” said a very confident Tupaz.
The Lady Spikers turned what was expected to be a tight contest into a shocking rout as DLSU steamrolled its way to relatively easy 25-22, 25-14, 25-18, win over the Lady Eagles, leaving the 16,537-strong crowd especially the sea of blue and white inside the Big Dome stunned.
It was the Taft-based squad’s first win against its bitter rival in six meetings since the last two games of Season 76 Finals and in the process halted Ateneo’s 24-game winning run.
Tupaz admitted that they had a bad outing in terms of their reception that despite having 19 digs and 16 excellent receives, the quality of their first ball was awful that celebrated setter Jia Morado had a hard time orchestrating their offense resulting to a subpar 10 excellent sets.
With their defense in disarray – highlighted by DLSU’ 8-0 barrage to start the second set – Ateneo’s offense also suffered with no other player beside two-time Most Valuable Player Alyssa Valdez scoring in double figures. Valdez had to work her way for 11 points, hammering 33 attack attempts only to penetrate 10 kills.
DLSU capitalized on the Lady Eagles’ weak floor defense with Lady Spikers head coach Ramil De Jesus instructing his wards to punish Ateneo with long and hard services. It was a perfect ploy as DLSU scored 13 aces including seven from playmaker Kim Fajardo, who that time set her career-best 13 points. Ara Galang and Majoy Baron finished with 10 markers each.
“Lilinisin lang namin ang receive. Ngayon kapag maganda ang receive namin may tulog sila sa amin,” said Tupaz, who added that they failed to adjust their defense with the taller DLSU middles – Mika Reyes, Baron and Kim Dy – pounding quick attacks, dropping shots and outwitting them on off speeds.
Libero Jamie Lavitoria started for the Lady Eagles in that game with Gizelle Tan coming off the bench. Lavitoria had only four digs in their first meeting with DLSU so Tupaz said that they are planning to give Tan more time inside the court.
“Mabilis kasi kumilos (si Tan) and mataas ‘yung ulo niya sa court,” said the assistant coach.
Tupaz is confident that they still have the edge on firepower Valdez, her heir apparent Jho Maraguinot, Bea De Leon and Amy Ahomiro, who returned to her natural position at the middle to replace injured sophomore Maddie Madayag.
Ateneo’s only concern is defense.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles