De La Salle University women’s volleyball coach Ramil de Jesus admitted that getting swept by archrival Ateneo de Manila University dealt a big blow to their confidence.
Fortunately for the Lady Spikers, the defending champion of Season 79 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball, they have time to regroup and refocus.
“I think our confidence was hit with this loss,” de Jesus told reporters after La Salle dropped another four-setter to Ateneo, 25-12, 20-25, 21-25, 19-25, last Saturday at the end of the elimination round.
The loss denied the Lady Spikers to claim the top seeding and settled for the No. 2 spot and face the dangerous and peaking University of Santo Tomas (UST) in the Final Four round.
La Salle was keen on avenging its first-round loss to the Lady Eagles in the first round after starting the first set with a 25-12 emphatic win. But the Lady Spikers failed to sustain the energy and lost the next three sets to their archrivals, their third defeat in 14 matches.
But all is not lost, according to de Jesus, as they are armed with a twice-to-beat advantage against Sisi Rondina, EJ Laure and the Tigresses in their Final Four match on April 22 at the Big Dome.
“That’s the more important game,” said de Jesus. “That’s where the real fight starts, not here (in the eliminations). There’s no room for error in that game.”
And the Lady Spikers must not take the Tigresses for granted as the Espana-based squad is returning to the Final Four stage for the first time in four years.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles will face the No. 4 seed Far Eastern University (FEU) in their semis encounter on April 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Judging their two meetings in the elimination round, Ateneo had a hard time beating the Morayta-based team as it needed five sets in both matches to beat the Lady Tamaraws.
The Lady Eagles survived FEU in their first meeting, 25-19, 24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 15-11, last February 12 despite missing the services of head coach Tai Bundit, who had to fly to Thailand due to the death of his father-in-law.
In their second-round face off last March 18, Ateneo repeated with a 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 15-8 win that clinched the Lady Eagles a spot in the Final Four.