By Kristel Satumbaga
The Ateneo Lady Eagles are not taking any chances even if they are favored to run roughshod over the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in next weekend’s Final Four meeting in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament.
Ateneo finished the double-round eliminations with the best record at 12-2, earning the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage against FEU in their semis duel which starts on April 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Lady Eagles assistant coach Sherwin Meneses, however, said there’s still a room for improvements from the team eager to regain the championship they lost last season to the archrival La Salle Lady Spikers.
“Para sa amin, back to zero yung semis, kahit lahat kami gustong makarating sa Finals. Lahat gustong manalo,” said Meneses, who is the chief lieutenant of Ateneo’s Thai mentor Tai Bundit.
Ateneo swept its two elimination round matches against FEU, but Meneses noted that the Lady Tams are no pushovers.
FEU had to dig deep late in the eliminations, joining University of Santo Tomas as the last two teams to make the semis following a wild Final Four chase with the National University Lady Bulldogs and University of the Philippines Lady Maroons.
In fact, Ateneo won both games against FEU in five sets. The first was a 25-19, 24-26, 19-25, 25-16, 15-11 triumph last Feb. 12 followed by a 25-20, 25-22, 17-25, 21-25, 15-8 victory last March 18.
“Three, four, five sets man yan, basta ang importante, makapag-adjust kami. Manalo kami,” Meneses said.
The other Final Four pairing is between La Salle and University of Santo Tomas which starts on April 22. The defending champion Lady Spikers hold a twice-to-beat edge over the No. 3 seed Tigresses.