Things to take away from Ateneo’s 3-set win over UE
by rick olivares
There was no doubt that the Ateneo Lady Eagles were going to roll over the hapless University of the East Lady Red Warriors.
There are three things to note in Ateneo’s 11th win versus two losses of the season.
One, the Lady Eagles played better with every set.
If you look at the win – 25-18, 25-12, 25-10 – UE’s output lessened with every set. Lady Eagle utility player Kim Gequillana talked about the team working on the little things and correcting mistakes. And they sure did.
Twice this second round now, Ateneo finished with 17 errors (for opponent points). They finished with the same total for a third time against, UE, bettering by two points less their 19 in the first round clash against the Lady Red Warriors.
Picking up two consecutive wins and good ones at that in the lead up to the La Salle match has to be good.
Two, almost the entire bench got playing time.
Jhoana Maraguinot was not played at all in order to give her a rest in preparation for the La Salle match so it was only Janelle So who didn’t enter the match. Everyone else got some playing time.
Katrina Tolentino was the only one who scored in double figures with 12 points. The rest of the Lady Eagles’ output came from every player who went in who wasn’t a libero.
Of the players recently getting playing time it should be noted that middle hitters Ana Gopico and Maddie Madayag are starting to log more minutes and that tells on their confidence. Madayag scored on serves and running hits – weapons she is expected to help out especially against La Salle.
Three, Jia Morado has continued her season-long brilliance.
Twenty-six excellent sets, nine points including five aces. What hasn’t been said about Morado? Oh, she’s also deadly when closing sets. How many this season has she ended with an ace or a drop shot? I count at least five. I could be wrong as there could be more.
Morado has definitely made a case for being named Most Valuable Player of the Year but that might be difficult with National University’s Jaja Santiago the forerunner there. And unfortunately, this comes down to statistics.
Here’s why Morado is that good… despite Santiago’s presence, NU is at 7-6 and could make it or not to the Final Four. Ateneo has had the benefit of huge returns from Mich Morente, Jhoana Maraguinot, Bea De Leon and the pick-up of Katrina Tolentino. Yet, for sheer consistency and her overall impact, Morado is tops.
She, however, couldn’t care less. It’s a championship she is aiming for.
And there’s that upcoming duel with the league’s par-excellence setter Kim Fajardo. That has great bearing on the seedings and bragging rights.