Alyssa Valdez is in a great shape averaging 25 points per game. Dzi Gervacio, the team Captain, is a solid offense to reckon with. Fille Saint Cainglet is a consistent, reliable open hitter. Gretchen Ho and ace setter Jam Ferrer are formidable forces.
Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles was undefeated prior to the game against DLSU Lady Spikers during the 1st Elimination Round in the ongoing UAAP 75th Women's Volleyball with a 5-0 win-loss card.
A jampacked arena, dominated by green and blue colors, two bitter rivals faced each other and fought down the wire. It was a never-before-seen battle that saw spectators chanting without cease, even after the last point has decided the game.
It was nervebreaking. It was scary. Emotions fired up. History was in the making. But above all of these, the result was a close one.
Ateneo came short.
The De la Salle University Lady Spikers snapped ADMU's winning streak in what most fans called the greatest comeback.
12 days later, ADMU Lady Eagles found themselves in a 3 consecutive losing skid. Defeated by Adamson University Lady Falcons and Far Eastern University Lady Tams.
What went wrong?
First off, during that game against DLSU on January 12, 2013, the Lady Eagles won the first two sets with Valdez, Cainglet and Gervacio combined forces in the offensive while Ferrer, Ho and libero Lazaro took on the defensive end making it hard for the Green Ladies to clinch those sets.
On the 3rd set, Ateneo's backline defense proved to be the hole that De la Salle managed to gain points attacking it. Their offense became predictable as Jam Ferrer kept on going to Alyssa Valdez who later began to show exhaustion at times. There was no variations on the setups, and the backline attacks were never maximized.
DLSU regained poise as their defense tightened up, blocking most of the attacks and taking advantages of the Lady Eagles' poor receptions. With Mika Reyes and reigning MVP Abegail Marano towering the net, and super sophomore Ara Galang pedalling on the gas, gaining momentum on the scoreboard. DLSU became unpredictable as all players scoring in every opportunity.
Another setback for Ateneo was the injury of "Miss Consistent" Cainglet early in the 4th set that forced coach Gorayeb to put Ella de Jesus on the court.
It was a great move as Ella delivered. But the Lady Spikers played what the Blue side forgot to do--maximize every player.
Against Adamson, Alyssa Valdez scored big time with 35 hits but got a lowly backup from the others as Gervacio managed only 11 points, an uncommon production of her caliber.
The game saw Jam Ferrer varied her setups but it was never been the same without Cainglet--the consistency and a reliable offense.
The ADMU Lady Eagles lost anew.
The worst and recent defeat was against nemesis FEU Lady Tams as they fall in 3 straight sets.
In this game, the absence of Cainglet was a big difference as their offense relied mostly to Valdez who almost singlehandedly carried the team and came short for the "W". The "Great white Hope" Gretchen Ho was limited to only 2 points alongside Gervacio.
While on the other hand, Far Eastern University has four players in double digits with Mayjorie Roxas and Rose Vargas leading the pack with 11 points each.
What could be done?
For Ateneo to get back on the winning track...
1. Forget Fille Cainglet for the meantime.
2. Use Ella de Jesus frequently.
3. Maximize Gretchen Ho.
4. More playing time for Margarita Tejada.
5. Try to use Tajima, Nacachi and Ho at the same time. Activate the middle attack.
6. Spread the floor defense.
7. Quick sets for Dzi.
8. Vary attacks and setups.
9. Don't rush. One point at a time.
10. Good receptions.