MANILA, Philippines – De La Salle University head coach Ramil de Jesus has no plans to rest his players even as the Lady Spikers' final two assignments of the elimination round virtually have no bearing on their standing in the UAAP Season 78 women's volleyball tournament.
The Lady Spikers clinched a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final 4 on Saturday after routing University of the East (UE), 25-16, 25-17, 25-11. They have two more games left – a rematch against arch-rivals Ateneo de Manila University on April 10 before wrapping up their elimination round schedule against National University (NU) on April 13.
"No bearing na kasi ang mga games na 'yun eh," De Jesus said after their win over UE. "'Yung 1 and 2, wala ng aabot. Kumbaga, placing na lang. Kasi 'yung pagkatalo ng UP sa NU (last Wednesday), malaking factor 'yun. Sila 'yung pwede sanang kumuha sa No. 2."
University of the Philippines (UP) had a chance to challenge for one of the top two spots but squandered that opportunity with a three-set loss to NU last week. The Lady Maroons loss thus allowed both La Salle and Ateneo to seal semi-finals bonuses on Saturday.
Nevertheless, De Jesus made it clear that there are no plans to rest his players for their games against NU and Ateneo.
"Ang pahinga, wala sa bokabularyo 'yun," he said. "Walang pahinga."
There is less pressure on his players now, De Jesus said, as they are assured of a twice-to-beat edge with two games to go, but they still need to play hard in their final two games in order to enter the Final 4 with momentum and confidence.
"Ang sinasabi ko lang sa mga bata is mas maganda 'yung daanan mo lahat ng opponent at talunin, para ma-build ang confidence pagdating sa semis," he explained.
Moreover, even if their game against Ateneo has no bearing on the standings, they still need to play with pride, said De Jesus.
"'Di naman pe-pwede na totally na, 'laruin lang natin.' Hindi ganun eh," he pointed out. "Alam naman natin na pag Ateneo-La Salle, sabihin man natin na wala namang bearing 'yan, pero kita mo ang mga bata, pride kasi."
"Kahit sabihin mong walang bearing, andoon 'yung pride," he stressed.
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