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La Salle, Ateneo renew rivalry
THE last time La Salle lost to Ateneo in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament was on April 8, 2017, when the Blue Eagles clinched the No. 1 ranking in the Final Four with a 12-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 victory over the Lady Spikers.
Since then, La Salle has stamped its class of Ateneo, winning its last 10 meetings.
“May rivalry pa ba kami?” Blue Eagles coach Oliver Almadro said in jest about their rivalry match versus the Lady Spikers on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Things are not going the Katipunan-based squad’s way in the last six years, but their counterparts from Taft are looking forward for the marquee showdown.
Rookie Angel Canino, who powered La Salle to two straight victories to tie defending champion National University on top, is excited to take part of the rivalry game.
“Siyempre sobrang iba yung UAAP kesa sa preseason po na league so pinaghahandaan po talaga namin as a team,” said Canino.
“Lahat naman po ng team pinaghahandaan namin pero yeah, since dati pa may rivalry nga, mas pinaghahandaan namin sila and alam namin na ready po kami,” the 19-year-old spiker out of Bacolod added.
Behind Canino, La Salle outlasted University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 16-25, 25-8, 15-25, 16-14, last Sunday before sweeping University of the Philippines, 25-14, 25-20, 25-14, Wednesday.
Canino came through with 18 points and 11 receptions against the Tigresses, before following up with 13-point, six-reception showing against the Fighting Maroons.
Meanwhile, Ateneo brushed off a tough University of the East stand in the third set before pulling off a 25-17, 25-23, 24-26, 25-10 win to level its record to 1-1. The Blue Eagles lost to the Lady Bulldogs, 15-25, 20-25, 16-25, on opening day.
“Ganon pa rin naman eh lahat naman pinaghahandaan namin even sino man yung dumating, paghahandaan pa rin namin,” said interim coach Noel Orcullo on the Lady Spikers’ preparation against their fabled rivals.
“Ipupush pa rin namin yung mga bata hanggang sa limit nila para pag papunta sa second round, kailangan pataas nang pataas yung laro,” he added.
Ateneo hopes to produce its A-game against La Salle, which is one of the contenders to unseat NU in the throne.
“Lahat naman ng teams mabigat, lahat ng games mabigat,” said Almadro. “So it’s a matter of mindset, mabigat man ang kalaban o hindi.”