Change of Finals schedule 'good and bad' for Ateneo

Mark Escarlote on Apr 25, 2017 10:22 PM
Change of Finals schedule 'good and bad' for Ateneo
Well, I think good news din kasi parang we can prepare pa lalo, but it's bad news rin for us kasi next week is final (exam) week na namin, and yung iba ay pre-finals, so parang, finals sa academics, Finals sa volleyball, sabay-sabay -- Michelle Morente

The abrupt change of schedule of the 79th UAAP volleyball Finals has both pros and cons as far as the Ateneo de Manila men's and women's teams are concerned.

Lady Eagles opposite hitter Michelle Morente welcomed the moving of their best-of-three championship showdown against bitter rival De La Salle University from its original date of April 29 to May 2 because of the country's hosting of the ASEAN Summit starting Wednesday to Saturday.

The change will not only give the former two-time champions a chance for extra days of preparation but an extended rest for the Lady Eagles to recuperate from their minor injuries and aches.

Morente has a nagging abdominal strain, middle Bea De Leon is nursing foot sprain, veteran setter Jia Morado is playing through a lingering back pain while hitters Jho Maraguinot and Kat Tolentino are both dealing with knee issues.

But on the other hand, the championship series falls on the final exam week of the school.

"Well, I think good news din kasi parang we can prepare pa lalo, but it's bad news rin for us kasi next week is final (exam) week na namin, and yung iba ay pre-finals, so parang, finals sa academics, Finals sa volleyball, sabay-sabay," said Morente, who is in her third Finals appearance in a return stint with the Lady Eagles after skipping action last season due to academic problems.

The third year player added that the change of schedule will give them added pressure in terms of balancing their focus on the series and in their academics.

"So feeling ko, sobrang hirap for us to manage our time, especially important games and important din sa amin yung school," she said. "So bahala na. Basta ayun, parehas na good news and bad news siya for us."

A sentiment shared by three-time Most Valuable Player Marck Espejo.

The three-peat seeking Blue Eagles have not seen action for almost a month after clinching an outright Finals berth when they swept the 14-game elimination round.

And the Blue Eagles are still waiting for their opponent between National University and Far Eastern University, who will battle in a do-or-die match Wednesday for the last Finals berth.

"Kanina nga lang po namin nalaman na na-move raw. Pero sabi kasi ni coach (Oliver Almadro) saka kami na parang prepared na kami kasi akala namin sa Saturday na (ang Finals) kasi ang tagal na naming nabakante, nag-Holy Week tapos two weeks pa parang ang tagal na," he said. "Kumabaga para kaming plastic na punum-puno ng tubig na gustong-gusto ng sumabog talaga. Kasi siyempre lahat naghihintay na rin."

"Eh yung finals (week) pa masasabay doon sa Finals namin so sobrang hassle kasi siguro marami kaming iisipin pero siguro prepared naman kami lagi," he added. "Nagti-training naman kami and alam naman namin ang ginagawa namin and naka-program naman ang ginagawa namin."

The UAAP Board decided to move the schedule to a later date in deference to the ASEAN Summit and for the expected traffic disruption and rerouting in Pasay City.

From MOA Arena, the opening game will be held at the Big Dome so as Game 2 on May 6 and if necessary, Game 3, on May 10.


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