No letup for top-ranked Ateneo Lady Eagles

MANILA, Philippines – Even after locking the No. 1 spot at the end of the first round, the Ateneo Lady Eagles know that more work lies ahead. 

"I just told my players to play the right way, play the Ateneo way. Nothing to worry about, we just have to show the system," said Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro.

The Lady Eagles, toting a 6-1 record, head into the second round of the UAAP women's volleyball tournament as the hottest team riding on a 6-game winning streak.  

But the Lady Eagles only need to look at their last game to remind themselves that they can't take any opponent lightly.

Last weekend, the Lady Eagles got an early scare from the rookie-laden National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs before pulling off a 4-set win. 

"That was one of the toughest games we played actually for me," said Ateneo captain Bea de Leon. "It’s tougher to play a team that’s very loose. And I commend them a lot, it was a really good fight."

"It was kind of a wake-up call in the first set," added Ateneo’s Kat Tolentino. "I think it’s just their mentality that they have nothing to lose because if they win, it’s a good boost for them as rookies. It’s not that much pressure, [unlike us since we were] trying to get that top spot." 

As Almadro commended the resilience of De Leon, Tolentino, Maddie Madayag and Deanna Wong, he hopes his go-to girls will show the same grit in the second round.

The Lady Eagles take on a similarly hot team in the University of Santo Tomas TIgresses at 4 pm on Wednesday, March 20 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. – Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com