‘Happy’ Ateneo uses total team effort to punish UE

Battling winless UE Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena gave league-leading Ateneo a chance to field in 13 players from its 14-woman roster and still win convincingly, 25-12, 25-10, 25-10.

With the victory, the Lady Eagles extended their win streak to 24 games which dates back to 2014 as they continue to enjoy the view from the penthouse with a 6-0 record in the UAAP Season 78 women’s volleyball tournament.

Outside hitters Jho Maraguinot and Alyssa Valdez combined for 22 points, punishing the listless Lady Warriors, who had Judith Abil as their top scorer with a measly 3-point output.

Converted libero Jamie Lavitoria continues to shine as she started anew for the Katipunan squad and finished with 11 excellent digs and 9 excellent receptions.

Read: Vastly-improved Majoy Baron not intimidated by Ateneo

The star of the game, however, was reigning best setter Jia Morado, who contributed 6 points on top of 27 excellent sets.

The combined effort of everyone did not go unnoticed in the eyes of the team’s skipper Valdez.

“Everyone played well today. Everyone contributed not only the ones in the 1st six,” she shared.

“For sure coach Tai masaya siya kasi napaglaro niya ‘yung mga bata na kailangan namin to build up confidence for the team,” she added. “It’s really a learning experience for everyone na kailangan namin sa upcoming games pa.”

Read: Mika Esperanza on facing Ateneo again: Hungrier than ever

The gamble of UE head coach Francis Vicente to use Roselle Baliton as a setter backfired with Baliton only tallying 3 excellent sets.

Despite going up against a bottom-dweller team, Ateneo showcased its lethal form and showed no mercy to the Recto squad.

This, according to Valdez, was just the right mindset coming into any match in the UAAP.

“Every game naman we should mean business. Sino ba namang coach ang sasabihin sa’yo na hindi? Wala namang coaches o players na papasok ng isang game not thinking of the goal,” she shared.

Read: Kim Fajardo has message for best bud Alyssa Valdez

The key takeaway, though, in the easy win was a reminder that they should always bank on the team’s strength which is to always be a jolly bunch inside the court.

“Even if may goal na kailangan mag perform ng maayos, hindi pa rin mawawala kay coach Tai ‘yung sasabihin niya na we have to play happy inside the court kasi doon nakukuha ‘yung strength ng team eh,” said Valdez.

“Kailangan happy, may commitment inside the court, with everyone and with volleyball,” she closed. — By Mac Dionisio

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