MANILA -- The Ateneo Blue Eagles are determined to build on their victory over Katipunan neighbors University of the Philippines when the second round of the UAAP Season 85 women's volleyball tournament starts.
Ateneo ended a four-game losing streak last Sunday when they swept UP, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22, to end the first round with a 2-5 win-loss slate.
Their 1-5 start to the tournament had been Ateneo's worst since opening Season 73 with a 1-4 record, all the way back in 2010.
"Of course it's been a frustrating and tough first round," admitted Ateneo open hitter Vanie Gandler, who scored 17 points in their sweep of UP. "So it feels great to finally get another win."
The Blue Eagles, who placed third in Season 84, absorbed losses against La Salle, Far Eastern University, Adamson, and the University of Santo Tomas before breaking their skid against UP.
The loss to FEU was particularly painful as the Katipunan spikers lost in five sets.
"The past days, we tried to focus on what we need to do and not on what happened before. So, it helped na we stay in the moment, we work and we plan as a team," said Ateneo co-captain Faith Nisperos. "Ang maganda is everyone is contributing and 'yun ang importante."
"Like I said, it's been a tough season, but more so, we have to come together. That's what we've been doing," Gandler added. "We've been really trying to work together as one team."
The win over UP lifted their spirits and gave them a boost of confidence heading into the second round, where the Blue Eagles will now try to compile as many wins as possible to get back into the Final 4 race.
Ateneo has made it to the Final 4 for 11 straight seasons.
"The fight's not over, so we're just gonna keep going," said Gandler.
"We will just use this as fuel," added Ateneo coach Oliver Almadro. "I have faith in my players that [they're] using this as an inspiration."
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.