Even La Salle head coach Ramil de Jesus admitted that his team’s loss to arch-rival Ateneo served a huge blow to the confidence of his Lady Spikers.
But they got over that hump quickly as La Salle bounced back big eliminating NU, 25-14, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15, from Season 78 semis contention Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
“Gusto talaga namin bawian kasi sila ‘yung mas nahirapan kami nung 1st round,” said De Jesus referring to their four-set loss to the Lady Bulldogs last February.
“Maganda rin kasi ito papunta ng semis na ‘yung confidence medyo mataas kasi siyempre after matalo sa Ateneo lahat ng bata medyo nagkaroon ng doubt sa sarili,” he added.
After a lukewarm performance against the Lady Eagles, opposite spiker Kim Dy showcased her lethal form to tally a career-high 25-point output built on 15 kills, 5 blocks and 5 service aces.
Cyd Demecillo had another rough day as she had a tough time converting attacks into points but rookie May Luna readily stepped in and scored 5 in less than 2 sets of action.
“‘Yung bata (Dy) siguro nasa mood ngayon. Breaks lang siguro kay May Luna kasi medyo mababa pa ‘yung nilalaro ni Demecillo,” said De Jesus.
The win gave the Lady Spikers a shot of confidence with De Jesus describing this NU match as a must-win for his team. A back-to-back loss could have been a dampener for the Lady Spikers despite being armed with a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.
“Ang sabi ko sa mga bata mahirap kasi na papasok kami sa semis ng hindi natin alam kung anong kaya natin,” the La Salle mentor said. “Test sa atin itong game ngayon kung saan tayo pupunta. Kung bababa ‘yung galaw nila, mahirap ‘yung semifinals.”
La Salle’s win also completed the Final Four cast with FEU set to challenge them come Sunday when the Lady Spikers go for the jugular and an outright seat in the finals.
On top of La Salle’s long list of things to do in preparation for the semis is rest.
“Siguro baka bukas rest kami kasi halos tuloy-tuloy ‘yung game namin ng Sunday-Wednesday-Sunday. Medyo mabigat tapos nag-tuneup pa kami,” shared de Jesus.
“Mag-start kami tomorrow na mag-review although nakapahinga sila. Malaking advantage ‘yun para sa kanila,” he added, referring to the Lady Tamaraws’ longer rest period.
The timing of their much-deserved break couldn’t be more perfect with the Lady Spikers set to face another challenge off the court.
“Kami medyo pagod eh lalo na finals week sa La Salle. Nakakapagod kasi ‘yung mental tsaka puyat. Hindi naman pwede sabihin sa bata na wag ka na mag-aral,” de Jesus said.” —By Mac Dionisio