Ateneo seeks to rewrite history while National U tries to keep its date with destiny as the Lady Eagles and the Bulldogs face off in Game Two of the Shakey’s V-League Season 10 Finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City today.
The Lady Eagles surprised the fancied Bulldogs with a straight-set victory in the opener of their best-of-three playoff Thursday with the defending back-to-back champions all set to wrap up the series and become the first team in league history to win three straight First Conference crowns.
But the Lady Bulldogs are expected to bounce back strong from a mediocre debut in a Shakey’s V-League finals after a sterling campaign in the elims to the semis, hoping to force a decider and stay in the hunt for a breakthrough victory in the country’s premier women’s volley league.
Gametime is at 3 p.m. in a match to be aired live on GMA News TV Channel 11.
The live TV coverage actually starts at 1 p.m. for the Adamson-UST match where the Lady Falcons are likewise shooting to end their own best-of-three series for third.
A third game, if necessary, is set June 2 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Despite their impressive Game One victory, Ateneo coach Roger Gorayeb doesn’t want to take any chances, vowing to spring a surprise the way he did in the opener of the series backed by Mikasa and Accel.
The veteran mentor drew a solid all-around game from New Zealander Amy Amohiro, who played limited minutes in the past and didn’t see action in their semis match against UST but who delivered an impact game she highlighted with six hits.
“In Game One I made an adjust-ment by playing Amy (Ahorimo), who I have trained for a long time before she suffered an ACL (anterior cru- ciate ligament) injury,” said Gorayeb.
“In Game Two, I will probably make another adjustment and I expect NU to also do that,” he added.
NU coach Edjet Mabbayad has indeed a lot of adjusting to do, including working out some play patterns for Best Setter awardee Rubie de Leon, who struggled with just 18 successful sets in the opener against Ateneo’s 22 courtesy of Jem Ferrer.
With de Leon groping for form, the NU hitters, led by league-best Dindin Santiago, AIko Urdas and Myla Pablo failed to hit their strides and all finished below 10 points.
“I don’t know what happened but we weren’t really able to play our game, which is attack and attack,” said Mabbayad.
But after that Game One loss, the Lady Bulldogs are tipped to rebound and unleash their vaunted firepower and choking net defense and send the series into a decider.
Otherwise, the Lady Eagles would be soaring to greater heights with a third straight championship.