MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus admitted that the Lady Spikers did not fully prepare for the Ateneo Lady Eagles in their UAAP Season 76 Finals showdown because they thought they would be facing National University (NU) in the championship.
The third-seeded Lady Eagles overcame a twice-to-beat disadvantage against NU in the step-ladder semi-finals to advance to the Finals for the third straight year, where they faced the four-peat seeking La Salle.
On Wednesday, Ateneo’s fairy-tale run continued when they shocked La Salle in four sets, handing the Lady Spikers their first loss of the season and snapping La Salle’s incredible 30-game winning streak.
“Yun nga kasi, unang-una, ‘yung mindset namin sa NU na,” De Jesus admitted to reporters after the game. “Tapos, biglang Ateneo.”
“Buong week na ‘yung training namin, para sa NU talaga. So halos nakapag-prepare lang kami (for Ateneo) ng two days,” he added.
Ateneo completed their upset of NU last Saturday, and De Jesus said the Lady Spikers only trained on Monday and Tuesday before losing the game on Wednesday.
Ateneo’s upset of NU also meant that La Salle had an even longer lay-off. Had NU beaten Ateneo in just one game, that meant that the Lady Spikers would only have been out of action for a little over a week.
Instead, Ateneo forced a do-or-die showdown, and the Lady Spikers had an 18-day lay-off.
“Kung natapos ng Saturday, kung nanalo siguro ‘yung NU noon, at least hindi na na-move ng mas matagal,” said De Jesus. “Pero hindi kailangan maging rason ‘yun eh.”
The breaks of the game also did not go their way, he noted.
“Breaks na din, kasi may mga naitatapon na service error, di ba,” he said. “Siguro ‘yun na rin ‘yung sobrang nag-down sa kanila. Sila na rin mismo nagpatalo sa kanila.”
“Maraming kalaban. Kalaban mo na ang kalaban mo, kalaban mo pa ang sarili mo. Mahirap mag-survive kapag ganoon,” De Jesus added.