Already-ran Ateneo savors final games in UAAP Season 86

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Already-ran Ateneo savors final games in UAAP Season 86
Lyann de Guzman (16) had 25 big points for Ateneo.
UAAP Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – The Ateneo Blue Eagles have everything to gain and nothing to lose in their last two games in UAAP Season 86, after missing out on the Final Four bus for the second season in a row.

Ateneo, at 4-8, was officially eliminated from the semis race on Saturday night, when the FEU Lady Tamaraws pulled the rug from under league leaders UST, which decided the final spot in the Top 4.

Though the games will essentially be non-bearing, Ateneo skipper Roma Mae Doromal said the Blue Eagles will simply just make the most of the season.

“Well, of course, in-accept namin [na we missed the Final Four] and then sabi ko naman sa kanila na i-enjoy na lang namin and i-cherish yung moment na magkakasama kami,” Doromal said. 

“You know, [we’ll] give lang yung best parin namin for the Ateneo community.”

On Sunday, Ateneo began the final stretch of their season against UE, a team that beat them on opening day. True to their mindset, the Blue Eagles were able to come out with the convincing four set victory.

Doromal was named Player of the Game with 23 excellent digs and 23 excellent receptions.

Top scorer Lyann De Guzman mirrored her captain’s sentiments, finishing with a team-high 25 points in the victory over UE.

“Sabi nga ni Ate Roms na enjoy-in namin itong game na to. Tapos ilabas lang talaga namin yung kung ano talaga yung laro namin, every game, tapos sunod lang talaga sa sistema ni coach kasi wala namang mawawala sa amin kung ilalabas namin kung ano yung tunay naming laro,” she said.

Both Doromal and De Guzman also want to fine-tune their mental toughness, or “strong mind” as they call it. For the two players, it’s their biggest takeaway so far from first-year head coach Sergio Veloso.

“Ako ang natutunan ko talaga, magkaroon ng strong mind na kahit na alam ko yung mga dati kong skills pero now sa system niya, kailangan ko talaga magkaroon ng strong mind,” Doromal said. “Napili [rin] ako ni coach na maglead ng team, madami akong natutunan kasi sakanya… Wala siyang pakielam sa mga skills or anything, kailangan mo lang talaga i-give yung 100% mo na best, 110% best, sa training man yun or sa game.” 

“Ang natutunan ko under kay coach siguro yun nga, strong mind din… Basta ginagawa mo yung trabaho mo sa training, and naipapakita mo yun sa game, gagamitin ka talaga niya. And yun nga, parang naging healthy competition din siya samin na ipush namin yung isa’t isa para umangat,” quipped De Guzman.

The Blue Eagles play their penultimate match against perennial rival La Salle on Sunday, April 21, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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