Many followers of the Ateneo Lady Eagles had doubts that they will get far in season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s volleyball finals.
But from the time they lost their first game of the season to the La Salle Lady Spikers and to the point they played Game 3 of the best-of-three finals, coach Oliver Almadro has always instilled in them to keep the faith and their trust in each other.
“Nu’ng game ng FEU, sabi nila hindi daw kami mananalo–but we made it. This one noong nakuha ng UST ‘yung Game 1, sabi nila hindi daw kami mananalo sa UST, but we made it. Ang importante talaga, they really wanted it and worked hard for it,” said Almadro.
The Lady Eagles beat the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses in Game 3, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22, to clinch the crown last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“They really trusted me. Kahit gaano kahirap ang pinagdaanan namin,” said Almadro as the Lady Eagles persevered and made it past the FEU Lady Tamaraws in the Final Four and into the championship against the Tigresses.
The Lady Eagles, who got off to a slow start in the season, were able to get past the Tigresses’ repeated comebacks in the first two sets with their solid frontline game, to take Game 3 and win their third championship.
Two key spikers, Kat Tolentino and Maddie Madayag showed the way for the Katipunan squad with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
This gave Almadro his first-ever crown on his first coaching year with the Lady Eagles.
He had earlier steered the Blue Spikers to a three-peat feat with Ateneo from 2014 to 2016.
Finals’ MVP De Leon, who was supposed to skip her fifth and final year with the team, said she was grateful for Almadro to let her play on.
The 5’11” De Leon was among the team’s fearsome blockers and tall frontliners that Almadro relied on, along with 6’1” opposite Tolentino and 5’11” Madayag.
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