ATENEO-Motolite defied all the odds to make it to the PVL Open Conference Finals opposite Creamline.
Now, the Lady Eagles will need more than grit and court smarts to foil the Cool Smashers’ quest for a sweep of this year’s conference championships when the best-of-three series begins tomorrow at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
In an epic showdown where no one gave an inch up to the very end, Ateneo-Motolite displayed tremendous poise to eliminate BanKo-Perlas 21-25, 23-25, 25-17, 27-25, 21-19, in last Sunday’s semifinals decider.
Showing no-quit attitude, the Lady Eagles climbed back from a 0-1 series to hurdle the Perlas Spikers, who rallied from a 6-11 deficit to put them at match point but the costly late game errors doomed their bid.
“We didn’t expect to be in the finals. We’re just a collegiate team so we didn’t expect this. But my players wanted this,” said coach Oliver Almadro, who is on his first major tournament handling the Ateneo women’s volleyball program after a successful run in the men’s.
As they prepare for the UAAP wars, the Lady Eagles will relish this moment as they gain the needed experience come February next year.
Ranged against Creamline’s Alyssa Valdez, Jia Morado and Thai coach Tai Bundit - who were all instrumental in Ateneo’s two UAAP championships - Almadro is more than glad to have the reigning Reinforced Conference champions as its Finals foe.
“It’s all about heart and who wants it more. Valdez and Morado are legends, they are idols of our players,” said Almadro.
“A championship would be great but facing experienced club teams would help us a lot in our UAAP buildup.”