Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro lauded the defense shown by her wards against University of Santo Tomas which is just one of the factors that paved the way for a straight set stunner in the stepladder of the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament.
Almadro was all smiles and couldn't hide his excitement as soon as he was handed out the stat sheet after the Blue Eagles fought for dear life and advanced to the next stage of the stepladder.
"'Yong defense, we really worked hard on our defense," cited Almadro after Ateneo's 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 win at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday, June 14. "I'm also happy that Ravena... Dani did well. She has 17 digs today and nagma-manifest 'yong hard work namin.
"Malaking bagay kasi we worked hard on our defense recently. Alam naman namin na 'yong first round kulelat talaga kami sa depensa. Slowly, we're doing it right and hopefully we can do it more right in the next games," added the three-time UAAP champion.
Faith Nisperos and Vannie Gandler led Ateneo's offense with 23 and 15 points each but on the defensive end, Ravena produced huge numbers compared the past couple of games.
The Blue Eagles also matched the Golden Tigresses' eight blocks with two each coming from Nisperos and Joan Narit.
In the non-scoring department, Ravena had 17 excellent digs paired by Gandler's five while Roma Mae Doromal and Nisperos chalked up 10 and eight excellent receptions, respectively. Jaja Maraguinot also tossed 15 excellent sets
Both teams lessened their errors as Ateneo won 13 points compared to UST's 15.
That said, Almadro hopes that the same kind of defensive lockdown heading into their next match against second-seeded and twice-to-beat advantage holder De La Salle on Thursday, June 16.
"What's important is 'yong defense hustle nila, 'yong effort nila on the defense on the net and sa digging," said Almadro. "At least malaking bagay for us going to the next games. If we just work hard on those aspects, we'll live another day."