Ateneo and FEU met thrice in the preseason. Although Ateneo won all games, they were all close games. Clearly remarkable was the last one when Ateneo and FEU had a 5 set thriller. FEU was up 2 sets but Ateneo climbed back into the game and also in the deciding set to win it.
Ateneo vs FEU
Ateneo will definitely have an intact line-up this year. Sure, they didn’t get tall players or high school stars this year but they got players which they actually need. New middle Marge Tejada doesn’t have to make a lot of points, she just has to do her stuff; blocks and serves and that’s probably enough. Scoring will obviously still be on the shoulders of Alyssa Valdez, Fille Cainglet and Dzi Gervacio. They have very good setters in Jem Ferrer and Gizelle Tan so I guess, that won’t be a problem too. The improvements of Mae Tajima, Ella De Jesus and Amy Ahomiro will also be of big help. At least now, they will have tall players who can contribute if needed. They just have to really fix their recurring problem of receiving because that’s where they have been having a hard time during the preseason. But overall, they do have a strong line-up this year. After all, they are girls on a mission.
I won’t deny that Rose Vargas is one of my favorite players right now. I am expecting her again to lead the FEU squad this coming UAAP. I think FEU has done a tremendous job in keeping a system with regards to floor defense in their which is why, aside from Rose Vargas, this will be a very good factor. Middles will also be intact especially with Neth Eulalio still in the frame and the rookie RemRem Palma who showed a lot of promise in the Open Conference of V-League. Of course, last year’s Best Setter Gyzelle Sy will still be there as well as their reliable libero Tin Agno. I wonder if May Roxas is 100% already. She can provide a lot of points too for FEU if ever.
If there’s one team that Ateneo knows how to play up against, it’s gotta be FEU. I have been observing this match-up for the last 5 years. I must say, despite some complications with Ateneo’s line-up like injuries, absences or even off-games, they can always find a way to beat FEU. I can still remember the season when Ateneo had a rookie-laden line-up and even had two 5 set games with FEU who had Morada, Daquis, Gonzales, Vivas and Jose. I’m not really sure if it’s the coaching (maybe Coach Roger Gorayeb knows how Coach Nes Pamiliar coaches…IDK). But for some reason, I think it will be a more competitive match-up this year. Skills, pretty equal but Ateneo has more experience and leadership this year so let’s see.
Prediction: Ateneo in 4-5 sets
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