The Lady Eagles will embark on their back-to-back drive without veterans Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kim Gequillana, who have maxed out their playing years, and possibly Kat Tolentino, who’s non-committal about using her fifth year of eligibility.
Lady Eagles not content with 2019 golden feat
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - May 20, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Ateneo Lady Eagles took flight under the stewardship of Oliver Almadro and the multi-titled coach said it’s sky’s the limit for the newly minted UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball queens.

“It’s hard to say right away (if we’ll shoot for a dynasty) but we have to be better than our best, aim for what’s higher and believe in God’s plan,”  said Almadro after AdMU’s 25-17, 25-22, 25-22 clincher over Santo Tomas last Saturday.

“Now that we’re at No. 1, we will be the target, so we really have to do more, strive to make ourselves better and better and not be content with what we achieved now,” he added.

The Lady Eagles will embark on their back-to-back drive without veterans Bea de Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kim Gequillana, who have maxed out their playing years, and possibly Kat Tolentino, who’s non-committal about using her fifth year of eligibility.

But ever the faithful, Almadro is positive he and his team can make it work again.

“We have a promising team next year but of course, that’s not an instant (championship winner). We have to work for it because others are also working hard,” said Almadro, looking to utilize the same winning formula in the Season 82 batch. “Our main weapon is really faith, courage and trust in one another.”

“We will not be those perfect players or perfect coaches but we work as a team, as a family. That’s what’s important. Sometimes, talent, science, and skills, they’re not as important; what’s important is how you train, how you trust one another and how you put the faith in God,” he added.

Almadro, a celebrated mentor in the men’s division where he steered the Ateneo Blue Eagles to a three-peat, has made a successful crossover to the women’s side, breaking a three-year title drought for the Lady Eagles.

“It’s great to win in the men’s but it’s also great to win in the women’s,” he said. “The differrence is that in the women’s there’s a lot of drama, which can drown you. So what we did was, our team managed it. We agreed to take part in the drama but we agreed to manage it.”

The Lady Eagles didn’t start out golden, losing its opening game assignment and receiving flak for supposedly lacking in receiving, defense and outside hitting. The “bashers” continued to doubt the Ateneans when they lost to Far Eastern in the first game of the Final Four and later when they yielded the opener to the Tigresses in the finals. But Almadro and company are persistent.

“Don’t count us out. Don’t count out the heart of a champion and our faith in God,” he said.        

UAAP SEASON 81 VOLLEYBALL
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