AC Miner (right) shines in Ateneo’s crucial win over UP. UAAP PHOTO
For defending champion Ateneo, the long road back to the finals is dotted with uncertainty. And the best approach, coach Oliver Almadro said, is to take it “one step at a time.”
The Blue Eagles’ next step, however, could be quite tricky.
Standing in Ateneo’s way is a highly motivated Adamson that is rushing head on into the playoff match for the last semifinal berth in the UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball tournament feeling like it has nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The Lady Falcons gave a peek of the kind of mentality they approach do-or-die games with after thwarting La Salle last Thursday to force this sudden-death showdown against the Blue Eagles.
“All of us performed our responsibilities because it’s a do-or-die game and we didn’t want to have any regrets,” said wily playmaker Louie Romero, who had 24 excellent sets in Adamson’s 25-23, 17-25, 25-16, 26-24 victory over La Salle.
“I knew it was now or never so I didn’t want to give up on the team,” said Trisha Genesis, who led the Lady Falcons with 20 points.
Ateneo will have to match that resolve if it hopes to earn another day to defend its crown.
But the road ahead will only get tougher regardless of who emerges the No. 4 team after Saturday’s 5 p.m. knockout match at Mall of Asia Arena.
The winner of the match advances to another no-tomorrow showdown on Tuesday against No. 3 University of Santo Tomas.
The winner of that duel then battles No. 2 La Salle, which will be clad in twice-to-beat armor.
Only when that series is done will the survivor finally reach Finals, where the unbeaten National University Lady Bulldogs await.
Clearly, things are far different from when the Blue Eagles ruled the tournament in 2019.
“If it’s for us, it’s for us. The important thing is we do our job well,” said Almadro after Ateneo’s 19-25, 25-11, 25-18, 25-19 triumph over University of the Philippines last Thursday.
“We are finished with UP, now we study Adamson,” he added.
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