MANILA, Philippines – With their backs against the wall, the Ateneo Lady Eagles dug deep and got back at the FEU Lady Tamaraws with a UAAP Finals-clinching four-set win on Wednesday, May 8.
The Lady Eagles’ star trio of Kat Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Bea De Leon buckled up in the endgame, combining for 40 points to save their respective UAAP careers from an untimely end.
In the face of rare adversity, the Lady Eagle stars kept the faith and steered themselves back to collegiate volleyball’s biggest stage.
“I think it’s just trusting in Him and trusting the team,” said Tolentino, who led Ateneo with 19 points off 17 attacks. “We haven’t changed anything since the start. That’s what got us through that close 2nd and 3rd sets.”
The Lady Tamaraws indeed brought the fight to the Lady Eagles, taking Set 2, 25-21, before barely falling in a back-and-forth 3rd set, 23-25.
It was only in the 4th frame where the FEU defense fully collapsed to Ateneo’s overpowering offense, 14-25.
"[We’re] very, very grateful,” said De Leon after chipping in 9 points with 4 blocks. “The whole game, we just really prayed. I just wanna mention this. The whole time, the message we got was trust in the Lord, in His plan. It was all Him and all for Him.”
“There’s one more job to do but we’re thankful we got here,” she continued. “We didn’t entertain the thought that it was our last [game]. We knew and we trusted that this is really for us.”
Heading to Game 1 of the finals on Saturday, May 11, against the white-hot UST Golden Tigresses, first-year head coach Oliver Almadro is in turn keeping the faith alive in his talented wards to get the job done.
“We are here because they really wanted it,” he said. “We didn’t have any major adjustment. I just told my players to be really tough.”
“We will give them a beautiful game.” – Rappler.com