Blue Eagles aim to bounce back

Ateneo de Manila University will be joining two pre-season tournaments as part of the Blue Eagles’ preparation for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s volleyball wars.

Blue Eagles head coach Oliver Almadro said he wants to take advantage of every opportunity to prepare his wards for Season 85 with their eyes fixed on bringing back the UAAP crown to Loyola.

Ateneo is one of the 16 college teams that have confirmed participation in the inaugural Shakey’s Super League set to unwrap on 22 September.

Almadro also bared that the squad will also join the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference, which has yet to announce its scheduled start.

“We will just manage the lineup,” Almadro said.

“The more exposures we have, the better.”

For the third-year mentor, playing in as many pre-season tournaments will not only enhance his wards’ skills and develop team chemistry but will also give him a chance to gauge where they stand against other teams, especially those from rival UAAP schools.

He admitted that it was a luxury they never had in Season 84 during the league’s restart after a two-year break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year, we really didn’t have much time to prepare. So having a pre-season tournament this time will help the team a lot,” said Almadro, whose squad finished third in Season 84.”

He added that it will also give his new players a chance to get a feel of competitive games.

“So, we really have to immerse in actual matches, unlike before that we only play tune-up games,” Almadro said.

The Blue Eagles will field the core of its last UAAP season team spearheaded by Faith Nisperos with the inclusion of new recruits.

“We don’t have a deep pool of players so those who will play in the SSL are most likely the ones who will see action in the UAAP,” Almadro said.

Overall, Almadro said Ateneo competing in pre-season tourneys will not only benefit the team but also their legion of fans as well.

“I’m just happy that we have other tournaments aside from the UAAP. Fans will have a chance to watch the players that they just normally see play in the UAAP. I’m just glad that preseason tournaments are back,” he said.

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