Why Ateneo can still be a strong team this UAAP Season 76 (Women’s Volleyball)

Just a disclaimer, before you claim anything as hype, note that these are just observations. Haha. So yeah, I’m not really like other fans or should I say fantards who are pro-negativity and will pull down others. As an analyst or even just a fan of the sport, I feel the need to point out strengths rather than weaknesses and point out skills which they can still improve on.

So yeah, I’ve been getting a lot of demands from other people even non-Ateneo fans to post something about the Ateneo Lady Eagles and what they have become after the graduation of the Fab Five and the exit of Coach Roger Gorayeb.

My observations below are based on the past weeks only. I have not seen them yet with Coach Anusorn Bundit but I will try to drop by some time.

Forgive me for having a conyo/Taglish blog post! Hahaha. And also if there are wrong grammars and shiz, don’t hesitate to take notice. I kinda rushed this one lang din eh.

So anyway, here it is:

OBSERVATIONS: ATENEO LADY EAGLES

I saw their two tune-up games against semi-pro teams who are playing in the V-League and I must say, for a rebuilding team, they’re doing pretty well. The first one I watched was against PNP. They won it in 5 sets with Alyssa Valdez not playing in some sets. While last Friday, they won against Meralco with Alyssa Valdez only playing in the 1st set. The 5th set of that game against Meralco was a total team effort with significant contributions from Gequillana, Tajima, Gopico and Ahomiro.

OPEN SPIKERS/OUTSIDE HITTERS:

– Alyssa Valdez is still Alyssa Valdez but I have to say that her floor defense improved a lot
– Kim Gequillana was the one who really brought the house down. Sobrang talino maglaro and at the same time has good amount of power. She knows where to spike the ball and she has a good strategy na patamain yung spikes against the blockers. She has also been successful in doing the front-line kills ala Alyssa Valdez. She’s like a mixture of Cainglet and Gervacio. She can be one of Ateneo’s main scorers this coming UAAP. Not only can she score, she has very good blocking and floor defense. And man, she’s clutch.
– Michelle Morente has good court vision. She plays like a younger Maruja Banaticla (UST) and she can be a star too. She has good floor defense and blocking but she has to connect more with the setters and move better in the court. If she does, she’s gonna be a good player in the coming years.
– Despite not training that much because of academic demands, Jhoana Maraguinot still has the power and the serving. I wanna see her be in condition again though.
– Ella De Jesus had a hard time scoring in their games. I think height is still an issue for her despite the high vertical leaping.

OPPOSITE/UTILITY:

– Amy Ahomiro has improved so much. I think she’s the most improved player in the Ateneo team. I guess her stints in the V-League last conference helped her boost her confidence. If you remember, Amy Ahomiro even won the Best Player of the Game in Finals Game 1. Amy has been showing good floor defense and blocking. She just needs to have more connection with the setters and have more confidence because I believe she’s gonna be one of the team’s go to guys (girls) this season.
– Mona Bagatsing has to jump higher because she has the power na naman.

MIDDLE BLOCKERS:

– Ana Gopico has the potential to be a monster middle in the court. You can see that the girl has the power and the form. She can do running hits ala Maika Ortiz and quicks like Pau Soriano. Consistency is an issue though as she has this tendency to experiment with her attacks resulting to errors. If she gets consistent, she will be a deadly weapon for Ateneo. Aside from attacking, I have to commend her blocking. In the two games I watched she scored at least 5 blocks in each game. I enjoyed seeing her block the likes of Coco Wang and Em Penetrante. She has good timing and her blocks are like that of Gumabao/Laborte where she’d really close the door on the spikers.
– Mae Tajima still has to fix her attacking but her blocking has greatly improved. She jumps a bit higher now and well, jumps a lot more unlike in the past. Since she’s 6’2, she’s gonna be a good asset come UAAP especially if Ateneo’s faced with a team who has good middles. In their game against Meralco, she was able to check their Chinese Import Coco Wang and top player Maureen Penetrante. According to a fan page, she reported scored 7 blocks in that game. I didn’t count but yeah, she had a field day in blocking in that game.
– Anyway, if Tajima won’t work there’s always Marge Tejada who has sufficient middle blocker skills too. Hope she improves her attacking though. Serving and blocking have been helping the team a lot.
– I want Aerieal Patnongon to be back. The V-League Season 8 version. She had very good blocking and serving that time. Her attacking improve though based on what I saw. Let’s just hope she will be back. She can be an asset to the Philippine team if she will be a monster in the court.

SETTERS:

– Gizelle Tan has improved her setting a lot and has been connecting well with the spikers. Her serving and floor defense has improved too.
– But I can’t wait for Julia Morado to fully recover from her ACL injury. Right now, she’s 90% pa lang. She has been training already but hasn’t been doing the jump setting and hasn’t been participating in the scrimmages. She’ll be 100% by 3rd week of September. They need to have her in the team. She has the height and has very good setting. She is probably Ateneo’s best setter in the team now.

LIBEROS:

– Denden Lazaro still has very good digging but she’ll be a very good libero if she will improve her consistency in receiving.
– I did not see much of Bea Tan as she is focused more on Beach Volleyball the past weeks

TEAM SKILLS:

– Playing as a team. Contrary to what others are thinking, the team is not an Alyssa Valdez team. I have to credit this to their setters who are evenly distributing and giving the chance for the other spikers to shine. I guess that game against Meralco sort of impressed me. Alyssa Valdez did not play in the 2nd to 5th set, but they were able to pull off a victory. At least the jelling is getting there and the teamwork is finally coming into place.
– Blocking is Ateneo’s main weapon this season. I guess this is also because they have a much taller team this year.
– They commit a lot of errors. Well it’s a bit understandable since they’re a new or a rookie team. But if they commit like so many, it will be costly come UAAP.
– Consistency in receiving. I have to agree with the observations of the other fans that Ateneo’s consistency in receiving has got to improve. Cainglet and Gervacio were very good receivers and were very consistent. Super big loss for Ateneo but others have to step up especially Denden Lazaro.
– Valdez has improved also in floor defense (maybe because of her beach volley training too). Ahomiro and Gequillana have been showing good floor defending skills too but as a team, they have to be consistent. I think it also has to do with communication. Some of them don’t talk that much on the court. But it’s still early. Let’s see in the coming tune-up games or other off-season tournaments.
– If they fix their receiving, they still have a chance to make it up there. I think they’re still in the Top 3-4 teams this coming UAAP. Consistency, experience and maturity will most likely be their issue this coming season. But let’s see.

Warning/Note:
I think the best thing to do right now for Ateneo fans is to not expect muna. Haha. Although Ateneo’s talented (more talented than the past years), La Salle, NU and Adamson are experienced and are really gunning for the crown this year since they have a lot of graduating players lalo na Adamson, they have 7 graduating seniors. BUT, I’m not saying Ateneo can’t beat them. With good foundation and good skills and with good coaching by Coach Parley and Thai Coach Anusorn they might. Best way muna now is to not expect. Most of you guys are new here but this is what Ateneo fans including were like nung first year ng Fab Five after a great exit by Charo, Patti and Karla. They weren’t expecting anything to happen. Laro lang. Key word is PATIENCE. Back then, naunderstand naman ng lahat na young team Ateneo so no expectations talaga. This year, same lang din dapat. Goal is to make the Final Four. Beyond that would be a blessing. Haha. True may talent Ateneo this year, might even be the best team built in the past years but like what I’ve been saying jelling, maturity and experience will be the big issue here. Sabi nga ng iba, a rookie will always be a rookie. Ateneo has a total of two-three rookies in the starting six. And they have three juniors as the other half of the first six. Goes to show how young the Ateneo team’s gonna be this coming year.

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6 thoughts on “Why Ateneo can still be a strong team this UAAP Season 76 (Women’s Volleyball)

  1. I was just looking for scedules for UAAP and as one of Ateneo’s biggest fan this one catches my attention. And yea great job and thank you 🙂

  2. This blog was more likely Perfect Predictions/Observation for me .. i love this one. 🙂 From the Open Spikers/Outside Hitters; Opposite/Utility; Middle Blockers; Setters; Liberos; And even to the Team Skills . 😉 diba ? Almost Prefect nga. 🙂

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