UAAP Season 81 Finals: Heartstrong, mental toughness keys in Ateneo’s quest for the crown
Mark Escarlote on May 11, 2019 01:26 AM
Ateneo de Manila University begins its quest to reclaim the throne it lost four years ago.
Ateneo de Manila University will cling on to one aspect of its game that brought the Lady Eagles to glory before: their heartstrong mantra.
The Katipunan-based squad was pushed to the brink of missing the Finals but Ateneo rallied to boot out Far Eastern University in the semifinals do-or-die match for a chance to reclaim the crown it last held in Season 77 in the last of the squad’s back-to-back reign.
Now, the Lady Eagles are just two wins away from realizing their ultimate goal when they face University of Sto. Tomas in the best-of-three UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball Finals at the Big Dome on Saturday.
Game 1 is slated at 4:00 p.m. and will air live on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and via livestream.
The top-seeded Lady Eagles came back from a five-set loss in the Final Four opener against the Lady Tamaraws that forced them to use their twice-to-beat advantage.
Seniors Maddie Madayag, Bea De Leon and Kat Tolentino conspired in the rubber match for the last championship seat last Wednesday to bring Ateneo back on the biggest stage of the season after losing to FEU in the Season 80 semis.
That crucial Final Four stretch according to head coach Oliver Almadro sharpened his wards heading into the Finals.
“’Yung toughness namin, heart and will medyo tumibay because nandun na kami sa edge ng mawala ‘yung advantage namin,” he said. “’Yun sigurong mentality namin yung heart and will (ang key) lalo na sa Finals.
The Lady Eagles will have the psychological advantage against the Tigresses as Ateneo swept UST in their elims head-to-head. The Lady Eagles have a 14-game winning streak over the Tigresses dating back from the semis of Season 74.
Aside from the trio of Tolentino, Madayag and De Leon, Almadro will also pin his hopes on Jules Samonte, Ponggay Gaston and setter Deanna Wong.
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